Changes in cytokine production during pregnancy in patients with Graves' disease

Thyroid. 2000 Aug;10(8):701-7. doi: 10.1089/10507250050137798.


In order to investigate the role of type 1 and type 2 cytokines in the remission of Graves' disease (GD) during pregnancy, spontaneous and mitogen-stimulated production of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were measured by enzyme-linked immunospot assay of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 10 pregnant women with GD, 8 healthy pregnant women, and 10 healthy nonpregnant women. Tests were performed in the first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy and 10-17 weeks after delivery. IL-4 production was not affected greatly by normal or GD pregnancy, whereas IFN-gamma production was suppressed throughout pregnancy but returned to normal levels after delivery in both controls and patients. IL-6 and TNF-alpha tended to be higher in GD pregnancy than normal pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters. Controls had raised IL-10 in the first trimester with a return to normal levels by the third trimester, whereas patients had raised levels throughout pregnancy. IL-12 levels were suppressed to a greater extent in control than Graves' pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters. Ratios of IL10:IL12 in phytohemaglutinin (PHA)-stimulated cultures were much lower in GD than normal pregnancy and cross-regulation of IL-10 and IL-12 may be deficient in GD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Graves Disease / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-12 / biosynthesis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / immunology*
  • Receptors, Thyrotropin / analysis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Thyrotropin
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interferon-gamma