Autoimmune mechanisms in pernicious anaemia & thyroid disease

Autoimmun Rev. 2015 Sep;14(9):763-8. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2015.04.011. Epub 2015 May 1.


Pernicious anaemia (PA) and some types of thyroid disease result from autoimmune processes. The autoimmune mechanisms in these conditions have not been fully elucidated. This review discusses the autoimmune mechanisms involved in PA and how these affect diagnosis and disease progression. In addition to gastric antibodies, antibodies to the vitamin B12 binding protein transcobalamin which can result in high serum B12 levels are also addressed with regard to how they affect clinical practice. The role of autoimmune susceptibility is investigated by comparing PA to one of its most common comorbidities, autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). Thyroid disease (although not exclusively AITD) and B12 deficiency are both also implicated in the pathology of hyperhomocysteinemia, an elevated homocysteine in plasma. Since hyperhomocysteinemia is a risk factor for cardiovascular occlusive disease, this review also addresses how thyroid disease in particular leads to changes in homocysteine levels.

Keywords: Autoimmune thyroid disease; Hyperhomocysteinemia; Intrinsic factor; Pernicious anaemia; Transcobalamin II; Vitamin B(12).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Pernicious / diagnosis
  • Anemia, Pernicious / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Pernicious / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Autoimmunity*
  • Helicobacter Infections
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Thyroid Diseases / immunology*


  • Antibodies