Immunoglobulin G4-Related Thyroid Diseases

Dulani Kottahachchi, Duncan J Topliss
European Thyroid Journal 2016, 5 (4): 231-239
Immunoglobulin G4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is a new disease category involving many organ systems, including the endocrine system in general and the thyroid in particular. Since an initial association was made between hypothyroidism and autoimmune (IgG4-related) pancreatitis, more forms of IgG4-related thyroid disease (IgG4-RTD) have been recognized. Four subcategories of IgG4-RTD have so far been identified: Riedel thyroiditis (RT), fibrosing variant of Hashimoto thyroiditis (FVHT), IgG4-related Hashimoto thyroiditis, and Graves disease with elevated IgG4 levels. Although a male predominance is seen for IgG4-RD in general, RT and FVHT have a female preponderance. The pathogenesis of IgG4-RD is not completely understood; however, genetic factors, antigen-antibody reactions, and an allergic phenomenon have been described. Diagnosis of IgG4-RD requires a combination of clinical features, serological evidence, and histological features. Histology is the mainstay of diagnosis, with IgG4 immunostaining. Although serum IgG4 levels are usually elevated in IgG4-RD, raised serum IgG4 is neither necessary nor adequate for diagnosis. Imaging supports the diagnosis and is a useful tool in disease monitoring. Management of IgG4-RTD is both medical and surgical. Steroids are the first-line treatment and may produce a swift response. Tamoxifen and rituximab are second-line agents used in steroid-resistant patients. Surgical debulking is carried out in RT solely as a procedure to relieve obstruction. Other endocrine associations described with IgG4-RD are hypophysitis and Hashimoto encephalopathy. IgG4-RTD is an uncommon disease entity, and prompt diagnosis and treatment can improve outcomes.

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