Previous evidence suggested that lymphocytic thyroiditis (LT) was a variant of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), thus the aim of the current study is to quantify structural changes in histological specimens taken from HT and LT patients. A total of 600 images containing a single lymphocyte nucleus (300 nuclei per group) were obtained from 20 patients with HT and LT. In order to quantify changes in the nuclear architecture of investigated lymphocytes, the fractal dimension (FD) and some gray-level co-occurrence matrix texture parameters (angular second moment, inverse difference moment, contrast, entropy, and correlation) were calculated for each nucleus. A statistically significant difference in the FD of the "binary-outlined" nucleus and that of the corresponding "black-and-white" nucleus was detected between HT and LT lymphocyte nuclei. In addition, there was also a statistically significant difference in contrast and correlation between HT and LT lymphocyte nuclei. In conclusion, the results of this study suggested that there was a difference in structural complexity between investigated lymphocyte nuclei; additionally, LT lymphocytes possessed probably more complex texture and larger variations as well as more asymmetrical nuclei compared with HT lymphocytes. Accordingly, these findings indicate that LT is probably not a variant of HT; however, more complex studies are necessary to estimate differences between these types of thyroiditis.
Keywords: GLCM; Hashimoto's thyroiditis; fractal dimension; lymphocyte nuclei; lymphocytic thyroiditis.