ENDOCRINE organs, with their highly specialized functions, contain organ-specific tissue antigens capable of inducing autoimmune responses under appropriate conditions. Some of the endocrine diseases with autoimmune phenomena are listed in Table 13-1. Immunologic aspects of the diseases listed in this table are discussed in this chapter.
Hashimoto's or autoimmune thyroiditis is a common disease. The incidence, now 1% to 2% at autopsy, appears to be increasing. The incidence increases with age, is four times more common in women than men, and four times more common in white than black persons. There may be familial aggregations of the disease, although this tendency is not so marked as with Graves' disease. To date, there is no conclusive evidence of any association with HLA or bloodgroup antigens.
In the thyroid gland there are variable degrees of depletion of colloid from the follicles, Askenazy's cellchange, infiltration with lymphocytes, germinal-center
Fink JN, Beall GN. Immunologic Aspects of Endocrine Diseases. JAMA. 1982;248(20):2696–2700. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330200120022
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