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IL-14 and IL-16 are expressed in the thyroid of patients with either Graves' disease or Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

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Published:1st Nov 2015
Author: Helen Kemp E, Ajjan RA, Metcalfe RA, Watson PF, Weetman AP.
Ref.:Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2015 Nov;83(5):726-32.
DOI:10.1111/cen.12810.

Objectives: Cytokines have an important role in orchestrating the pathophysiology in autoimmune thyroid disease. The aim of the current study was to analyse the expression of interleukin (IL)-14 and IL-16 in the thyroid tissue of patients with Graves' disease (GD), Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) or multinodular goitre (MNG) and in that of normal individuals, in patients' intrathyroidal CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, and in patient and normal cultured thyroid follicular cells.

Methods: The expression of IL-14 and IL-16 mRNA and protein was investigated using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) amplification, and Western blotting and ELISAs, respectively.

Results: IL-14 mRNA expression was detected in thyroid tissue from 8/9 GD, 3/4 HT and 3/13 MNG patients and 1/6 normal individuals, and IL-16 mRNA expression in thyroid tissue from 9/9 GD, 4/4 HT and 9/13 MNG patients and 4/6 normal individuals. IL-14 mRNA expression was detected in intrathyroidal CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells from 2/2 GD and 2/2 HT patients, while IL-16 mRNA was detected in samples from 1/2 HT patients but not in those from either patient with GD. IL-14 and IL-16 mRNA expression was found in thyroid follicular cells derived from 2/2 patient with GD and 1/1 normal individual. IL-14 protein was detected in thyroid tissue from 6/6 GD, 1/1 HT and 0/6 MNG patients and 0/6 normal individuals, and IL-16 protein in thyroid tissue from 6/6 GD, 1/1 HT and 1/6 MNG patients and 0/6 normal individuals. Expression of IL-14 protein was stimulated in thyroid follicular cells derived from two patients with GD and one normal individual by peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)-conditioned medium. Treatment of thyrocytes from two patients with GD and one normal individual with PBMC-conditioned medium and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α stimulated IL-16 protein expression. In normal thyrocytes, IL-16 protein synthesis was induced also by IL-1β, IL-17A, IL-4 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β.

Conclusions: The data provide evidence that the intrathyroidal production of IL-14 and IL-16 is associated with the pathogenesis of autoimmune thyroid disease. Thyroid follicular cells display the ability to express IL-14 and IL-16 mRNA and can be stimulated to express IL-16 protein, by a panel of cytokines, and IL-14 protein, by as yet unidentified factors.

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