Graves disease autoimmune hyperthyroidism

Graves' disease results from auto-antibodies that develop against the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor on thyroid cell membranes. Interestingly, binding of these antibodies with TSH receptors do not result in destruction of either the receptors or the cells, but instead cause long-term stimulation of the thyroid with the development of a goitre,

Figure 11.14. Auto-immune destruction of the thyroid gland and joints of the hands: (a) shows the characteristic woody appearance of a goitre removed from a patient with Hashimoto's disease and (b) the hands of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis.

excessive production of thyroxine hormones and the clinical syndrome of hyperthyroidism. The treatment is to suppress thyroid cell function by antithyroid drugs such as propylthiouracil and carbimazole, or destruction of thyroid cells by either radioactive iodine or a subtotal thyroidectomy.

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