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Changes in Clinical Activity, Serum Autoantibody Levels, and Chorioretinal Vessels After Systemic Glucocorticoid Therapy in Thyroid Eye Disease.

INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to investigate changes in the Clinical Activity Score, serum thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibody and thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin levels, chorioretinal blood vessels, and extraocular muscle thickness in patients with thyroid eye disease following systemic steroid treatment.

METHODS: This prospective observational study enrolled 57 patients with active thyroid eye disease who received systemic intravenous glucocorticoids for 12 weeks. Demographics, clinical activity scores, optical coherence tomography images, and serum thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin and thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibody levels were assessed at baseline, at 6 and 12 weeks after intravenous (IV) GC therapy initiation, and 2 months after IV GC therapy termination. The extraocular muscle thickness, choroidal thickness, and choroidal vascularity index were measured.

RESULTS: The clinical activity scores showed a significant decrease. Serum thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin levels dropped continuously for 2 months. The thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibody level decreased until 12 weeks after treatment but returned to within the normal range in 75% of patients after 77 and 126 days, respectively. The choroidal thickness decreased at all time points. The thickness of the medial and inferior rectus muscles decreased at 2 months after treatment. The clinical activity score decreased to < 3 points in 50% of patients after 78 days.

CONCLUSION: Intravenous glucocorticoid therapy improved the clinical activity score, chorioretinal blood flow, and extraocular muscle thickness. The serum autoantibody levels were normalized in patients with active thyroid eye disease 2 months after IV GC termination. The serum thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin and thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibody levels correlated with restoration of chorioretinal capillary perfusion and improved clinical symptoms and muscle thickness. Non-invasive optical coherence tomography findings and serologic factors predict the response to intravenous glucocorticoid therapy.

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