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October 20, 1978

New insights into thyroid physiology

JAMA. 1978;240(17):1833-1834. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290170015004

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At the meeting of the American Thyroid Association, research was also presented that gave insights into two aspects of thyroid physiology: one paper explored a possible mechanism for the ocular complications in Graves' disease, and two other presentations demonstrated an enzymatic reaction that may help explain how thyroid function is regulated by the pituitary.

Joseph Kriss, MD, professor of medicine and radiology at Stanford University Medical School, reported experiments suggesting that the severe optic problems that occur in about 5% of patients with Graves' disease (bulging of eyes, edema, double vision, paralysis of eye muscle, and periorbital fat protrusion) may be due to damage of the eye muscle by immune lymphocytes.

Kriss had previously shown that human eye muscle membranes will bind both thyroglobulin (Tg) and thyroglobulin-antithyroglobulin immune complexes (Tg-anti-Tg). In addition, other workers have recently shown that eye muscle membranes from persons with these eye problems contain Tg. Both