Research Article

A sensitive immunoradiometric assay for serum thyroid stimulating hormone: a replacement for the thyrotrophin releasing hormone test?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 17 November 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:1334
  1. J Seth,
  2. H A Kellett,
  3. G Caldwell,
  4. V M Sweeting,
  5. G J Beckett,
  6. S M Gow,
  7. A D Toft


    The value as a thyroid function test of a new, rapid, and highly sensitive immunoradiometric assay for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) was assessed in 188 consecutive new patients with suspected hyperthyroidism. The diagnosis was made on clinical grounds and on the basis of serum total triiodothyronine and thyroxine concentrations and the response of TSH to thyrotrophin releasing hormone (TRH) as measured by radioimmunoassay. In all except one patient the basal TSH concentration by immunoradiometric assay predicted the response of TSH by radioimmunoassay to TRH, an undetectable value being recorded in patients with a subnormal response and a measurable value in those with a normal test result. This clear relation was not observed for basal TSH concentrations as measured by radioimmunoassay. In a series of 39 hospital inpatients with acute or chronic non-thyroidal illness, of whom 11 had low concentrations of total thyroxine or triiodothyronine, or both, basal TSH concentrations were detectable by both radioimmunoassay and immunoradiometric assay in all cases and were associated with normal responses to TRH. The immunoradiometric assay for TSH, which is commercially available, may therefore obviate the need for the more time consuming TRH test and simplify the approach to thyroid function testing in patients with suspected hyperthyroidism.