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Gazzetta Medica Italiana - Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2020 July-August;179(7-8):479-85

DOI: 10.23736/S0393-3660.19.04176-7

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

A historical excursus of diagnostic methods for Hashimoto thyroiditis and Graves’ disease

Maria TROVATO

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and Pharmacology, G. Martino University Hospital, Messina, Italy



Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) are chronic thyroiditis triggered by autoimmune reactions. They can lead to a progressive destruction of glandular tissue that may cause either an increase or a decrease of thyroid hormones. AITD span from hyperthyroidism of Graves’ disease to hypothyroidism of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, encompassing subtitle subclinical thyroid dysfunctions, too. Quite recently AITD have been named among organ specific autoimmune disorders. Firstly, AITD pathological findings were reported in the 19th century mainly by Hashimoto, Graves, Stokes, Basedow and Parry. However, only in the 20th century did Ehrlich’s assays pave the way for the pathogenesis of all autoimmune disorders. At present a unique etiology has not been associated with AITD. Environmental factors as well as genetic susceptibility have been considered most frequently involved in the onset of thyroid autoimmunity. AITD diagnosis still remains a difficult and complex issue. This is because morphological and serological reports are not always interchangeable since they record different degrees of glandular destruction. Furthermore, the trend of serum data is not always appropriate with the clinical course of AITD patients. Lastly, AITD therapy is symptomatic and not yet completely adequate. By an historical excursus on AITD diagnostic methods this assay summarizes old and new pivotal features setting the AITD diagnosis. Specially, to comment the developments on AIDT diagnostic methods achieved to date, AIDT serological data and histological characters are analyzed.


KEY WORDS: Autoimmune thyroiditis; Hashimoto disease; Graves disease

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