Research Article

Blocking activity to action of thyroid stimulating hormone in serum from patients with primary hypothyroidism.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 26 May 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:1559
  1. N R Steel,
  2. D R Weightman,
  3. J J Taylor,
  4. P Kendall-Taylor


    Spontaneous primary hypothyroidism in adults is usually associated with autoimmune thyroiditis. The hypothesis that hypothyroidism may result from the presence in serum of a factor that blocks stimulation of the thyroid by thyroid stimulating hormone was examined. Serum samples were collected from 28 patients with recently diagnosed primary hypothyroidism. After removal of endogenous thyroid stimulating hormone the effect of the serum on secretion of triiodothyronine induced by thyroid stimulating hormone or thyroid stimulating antibodies was examined in thyroid slices incubated in vitro. Serum samples from six of the patients demonstrated significant blocking of the stimulation by bovine thyroid stimulating hormone. Inhibition of the stimulatory action of thyroid stimulating antibodies was also exhibited by serum samples with blocking activity. It is concluded that in some patients with primary hypothyroidism a serum factor, which is probably an IgG, exists that can block the thyroid response to thyroid stimulating hormone and thyroid stimulating antibodies; it may represent an important mechanism in the pathogenesis of hypothyroidism.