Article

Stress and thyroid autoimmunity.

Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences: Barwon Health, The Geelong Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
Thyroid (Impact Factor: 3.84). 01/2005; 14(12):1047-55. DOI: 10.1089/thy.2004.14.1047
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT While many studies have shown a connection between stress and autoimmune disease, most of the evidence for stress contributing to the onset and course of autoimmune disease is circumstantial and the mechanisms by which stress affects autoimmune disease are not fully understood. The best circumstantial evidence for an effect of stress on autoimmune thyroid disease is the well-known relationship between the onset of Graves' hyperthyroidism and major stress but even this is debated. However, most of the recent case-control studies have supported stress as a factor that affects the onset and clinical course of Graves' disease. On the other hand, there have been few reports concerning the possible relationship between stress and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Because the onset and course of Hashimoto's thyroiditis is generally insidious, the effect of stress on Hashimoto's thyroiditis might be overlooked. Numerous human and animal studies have demonstrated that psychological and physiologic stressors induce various immunologic changes. Stress affects the immune system either directly or indirectly through the nervous and endocrine systems. These immune modulations may contribute to the development of autoimmunity as well as the susceptibility to autoimmune disease in genetically predisposed individuals. Stress can be one of the environmental factors for thyroid autoimmunity.

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