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Hashimoto thyroiditis, anti-thyroid antibodies and systemic lupus erythematosus.

AIM: To study the prevalence of Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT), anti-thyroid autoantibodies (anti-thyroglobulin or TgAb and thyroperoxidase or TPOAb) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. To analyze if associated HT, TgAb and/or TPOAb influence clinical or serological profiles, disease activity and/or its cumulative damage.

METHODS: Three hundred and one SLE patients and 141 controls were studied for thyroid stimulating hormone, thyroxin, TgAb and TPOAb by chemiluminescence and immunometric assays. Patients' charts were reviewed for serological and clinical profiles. Activity was measured by SLE Disease Activity Index and cumulative damage by Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index for SLE. SLE patients were divided into: (i) with HT; (ii) with anti-thyroid antibodies but without HT; and (iii) without HT and without anti-thyroid antibodies, and were then compared. Furthermore, SLE patients were compared according to the number of positive anti-thyroid antibodies.

RESULTS: Hashimoto thyroiditis prevalence in SLE was 12.6% and 5.6% in controls (P = 0.02; odds ratio = 2.4; 95% CI = 1.09-5.2). Lupus patients with HT had less malar rash (P = 0.02) and more anti-Sm (P = 0.04). Anti-Sm was more common in those with two anti-thyroid antibodies than in those with one or negative. The presence of HT or the number of positive autoantibodies did not associate either with disease activity (P = 0.95) or with cumulative damage (P = 0.98).

CONCLUSION: There is a two-fold increased risk of HT in SLE patients. Anti-Sm antibodies favor this association and also double antibody positivity. Disease activity and cumulative damage are not related to HT or with autoantibodies.

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