Use of Chinese hamster ovary cell lines transfected with cloned human thyrotropin receptor for the measurement of thyroid-stimulating antibodies: advantages and difficulties.
ABSTRACT We compared the activities of thyroid-stimulating antibodies (TSAb) as measured with two cell lines (JP26 and JP26/26) transfected with cloned human thyrotropin (TSH) receptor and the values for TSAb measured on human thyrocytes cultures. Sera were obtained from patients with Graves' disease, before, during and after therapy with carbimazole (1-methyl-2-thio-3-carbethoxyimidazole). The activities of TSAb performed with the three assays correlated significantly. The TSAb technique using JP26/26 cells was as sensitive as the method performed on human thyrocyte cultures since positive TSAb values were found in 45 out of 47 (95.7%) newly diagnosed patients, in 100% of patients who relapsed after drug withdrawal and in none in remission. When the JP26 cell line was used, sensitivity decreased as the detection rate was only 53.2 and 55.5% before treatment and in case of relapse, respectively. The TSH receptors analysis showed a receptor density two times higher for JP26/26 than for JP26. JP26/26 cells provide similar diagnostic information on human thyrocytes in patients with Graves' disease. Moreover with these cells, the procedure for cell culture is less cumbersome and precision is better. However, rigorous culture conditions are required to maintain TSH receptor expression in transfected cells.