IgG4 immunohistochemistry in Riedel's thyroiditis and the recommended criteria for diagnosis: A case series and literature review

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2021 May;94(5):851-857. doi: 10.1111/cen.14390. Epub 2020 Dec 21.


Objective: Riedel's thyroiditis (RT) is a very rare chronic fibrosing thyroiditis that is often associated with multifocal fibrosclerosis. Although the relationship of RT and IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) has been suggested, the expression of IgG and IgG4 in thyroid tissues of patients with RT has seldom been studied.

Design: A case series and literature review.

Patients and measurements: We searched our hospital's pathology database and identified five cases of RT between 2000 and 2019. The expression levels of IgG4 and IgG in thyroid tissues were detected by immunohistochemistry. We also performed a literature search of the electronic databases PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science and China National Knowledge Internet (CNKI). Eight papers were included in this study.

Results: According to immunohistochemistry, the numbers of IgG4+ plasma cells per high-power field (HPF) of the five RT patients at our hospital were 80, 8, 50, 10 and 22, and the respective IgG4+/IgG+ ratios were 76%, 80%, 43%, 19% and 28%. In the literature, 15 RT patients with confirmed IgG4 and IgG immunohistochemical findings were identified. Only seven of them fulfilled the IgG4-RD diagnostic criteria in terms of immunohistochemistry (IgG4+ > 10/HPF, IgG4+/IgG+ > 40%). In order to ensure that most RT cases can meet the IgG4 immunohistochemical criteria, an organ-specific cut-off value (≥10 IgG4+ plasma cells/HPF and ≥ an IgG4+/IgG ratio of 20%) was finally selected in our study.

Conclusion: Our findings of IgG4 expression in patients with RT suggest that a cut-off of 10 IgG4+ plasma cells/HPF and an IgG4+/IgG ratio of 20% are more suitable diagnostic criteria for RT in IgG4-RD.

Keywords: IgG4-related disease; Riedel's thyroiditis; diagnostic criteria; immunoglobulin G4.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hashimoto Disease*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Plasma Cells
  • Thyroiditis*


  • Immunoglobulin G