The purpose of this study was to investigate autoimmune thyroid disease in mice undergoing interferon-alpha (IFN- alpha) treatment. IFN- alpha as 75000 U per mouse was administered every day. Mice were sacrified 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 weeks after the first IFN-alpha administration and examined for serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, the titer of antimicrosomal antibody (anti-M ab) and antithyroglobulin antibody (anti-Tg ab), and the histology of the thyroid glands. Serum TSH concentrations decreased one week after the first injection of IFN- alpha, remained unchanged at 2 weeks, increased at 3 weeks and continued to rise at 4 and 5 weeks. At the fifth week, serum TSH level was significantly higher than levels at the first and second weeks. Serum TSH cocentrations in the study group were significantly lower than those in the control group at 1 and 2 weeks. Anti-M ab and anti-Tg ab were detected in only one of the 39 mice treated with IFN- alpha after 5 weeks. In the histological observations of these mice, mild lymphocytic infiltration in the thyroid tissue was seen in only 3 mice, mild lymphocytic infiltration in the thyroid tissue was seen in only 3 mice, mild lymphocytic infiltration in the thyroid tissue was seen in only 3 mice at the fourth and fifth weeks after the first administration. In conclusion, IFN-alpha may change thyroid functions and induce autoimmune thyroid disease.
Keywords: Interferon-alpha, autoimmune thyroid disease, animal model