Anatabine ameliorates experimental autoimmune thyroiditis

Endocrinology. 2012 Sep;153(9):4580-7. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1452. Epub 2012 Jul 17.


Tobacco smoking favorably influences the course of Hashimoto thyroiditis, possibly through the antiinflammatory proprieties of nicotine. In this study we tested anatabine, another tobacco alkaloid, in a model of experimental autoimmune thyroiditis. Experimental autoimmune thyroiditis was induced by different doses of thyroglobulin, to produce a disease of low, moderate, or high severity, in 88 CBA/J female mice: 43 drank anatabine supplemented water and 45 regular water. Mice were bled after immunization and killed to assess thyroid histopathology, thyroglobulin antibodies, T(4), and thyroid RNA expression of 84 inflammatory genes. We also stimulated in vitro a macrophage cell line with interferon-γ or lipopolysaccharide plus or minus anatabine to quantitate inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase 2 protein expression. Anatabine reduced the incidence and severity of thyroiditis in the moderate disease category: only 13 of 21 mice (62%) developed thyroid infiltrates when drinking anatabine as compared with 22 of 23 (96%) controls (relative risk 0.59, P = 0.0174). The median thyroiditis severity was 0.5 and 2.0 in anatabine and controls, respectively (P = 0.0007 by Wilcoxon rank sum test). Anatabine also reduced the antibody response to thyroglobulin on d 14 (P = 0.029) and d 21 (P = 0.045) after immunization and improved the recovery of thyroid function on d 21 (P = 0.049). In the thyroid transcriptome, anatabine restored expression of IL-18 and IL-1 receptor type 2 to preimmunization levels. Finally, anatabine suppressed in a dose-dependent manner macrophage production of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase 2. Anatabine ameliorates disease in a model of autoimmune thyroiditis, making the delineation of its mechanisms of action and potential clinical utility worthwhile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune / drug therapy*


  • Alkaloids
  • Pyridines
  • anatabine