Research Article

A specific IgG in Graves' ophthalmopathy and its relation to retro-orbital and thyroid autoimmunity.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 21 April 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:1183
  1. P Kendall-Taylor,
  2. S Atkinson,
  3. M Holcombe


    An IgG (ophthalmopathic immunoglobulin) that binds to retro-orbital antigen was identified in serum from patients with active Graves' ophthalmopathy, and its nature and specificity were investigated. Dose related binding of this immunoglobulin to retro-orbital antigens prepared from guinea pig harderian gland or porcine eye muscle was found, which could be abolished by prior incubation with antigen. The immunoglobulin did not bind to thyroid membranes, thyroid microsomes, or thyroglobulin or interact with liver, skeletal muscle, or fat membranes. Serum with high activity of thyrotrophin binding inhibiting immunoglobulin did not react with retro-orbital antigen, and this activity was not affected by preincubation of the serum with retro-orbital antigen. Thyroid stimulating hormone was also without effect on retro-orbital antigen. It is concluded that Graves' ophthalmopathy is associated with a specific ophthalmopathic immunoglobulin that reacts with retro-orbital antigen as distinct from thyroid antigens, and that the autoimmune response is directed towards retro-orbital antigens. This suggests that the ophthalmopathy is an entity distinct from autoimmune thyroid disease.