Evaluation of chronic urticaria in patients with Hashimoto thyroiditis

J Clin Immunol. 2001 Sep;21(5):335-47. doi: 10.1023/a:1012288602962.


The coincidence of Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT) and chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) is a commonly observed phenomenon in western New York. Previous literature suggested that there may be a direct relationship between them. We undertook these studies to determine whether humoral or cell-mediated mechanisms might link HT and CIU. Skin biopsies from patients with CIU, with or without HT, were indistinguishable by light microscopy. No immune complex deposition was observed, although only the skin from patients with CIU and HT contained perivascular fibrin deposits. Similarly, immunohistochemical studies evaluating cellular expression of CD3, CD4, CD8, CD20, and CD68 failed to differentiate between CIU with or without HT. Analysis of Vbeta restriction in thyroid tissue of patients with HT and the skin of patients with CIU and HT by in situ polymerase chain reaction failed to reveal any oligoclonal T-lymphocyte subpopulations. In contrast, only patients with CIU and HT had anti-FcepsilonRI antibodies in their sera that could induce degranulation of normal basophils. Some sera from patients with CIU and HT caused degranulation of normal basophils in the absence of anti-FceRI. The factor causing basophil degranulation in these sera was not determined. Patients with CIU and HT failed to improve clinically with thyroid replacement therapy. All CIU patients were equally well managed with symptomatic therapies. In conclusion, HT likely represents a marker of other autoimmunity, rather than being a direct causative agent in CIU. Management of CIU, with or without HT and with or without anti-FceRI antibodies, should be the same. Future studies will have to examine whether cell-mediated responses participate in CIU, especially in association with HT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Basophils / immunology
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel / methods
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Histamine Release
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / pathology
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune / complications
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune / immunology*
  • Urticaria / complications
  • Urticaria / immunology*
  • Urticaria / pathology


  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate