Prevalence of antithyroperoxidase antibodies in a multiethnic Brazilian population: The ELSA-Brasil Study

Arch Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Apr 25;63(4):351-357. doi: 10.20945/2359-3997000000122.


Objective: In this study, we aimed to describe the prevalence and distribution of positive antithyroperoxidase antibodies (TPOAb) according to sex, age strata, and presence of thyroid dysfunction using baseline data from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil).

Materials and methods: Thyroid hormone tests were obtained from each study participant at baseline. Levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT4) were measured using a third-generation immunoenzymatic assay. Antithyroperoxidase antibodies were measured by electrochemiluminescence and were considered to be positive when ≥ 34 IU/mL.

Results: The prevalence of TPOAb among 13,503 study participants was 12%. Of participants with positive TPOAb, 69% were women. Almost 60% of the individuals with positive TPOAb were white. The presence of positive TPOAb was associated with the entire spectrum of thyroid diseases among women, but only with overt hyperthyroidism and overt hypothyroidism in men.

Conclusion: The distribution of positive TPOAb across sex, race, age, and thyroid function in the ELSA-Brasil study is aligned with the worldwide prevalence of positive TPOAb reported in iodine-sufficient areas. In women, the presence of TPOAb was related to the entire spectrum of thyroid dysfunction, while in men, it was only related to the occurrence of overt thyroid disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Brazil / ethnology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodide Peroxidase / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Thyroid Diseases / blood
  • Thyroid Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • White People / statistics & numerical data


  • Antibodies
  • Thyrotropin
  • Iodide Peroxidase
  • Thyroxine