Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), as a master regulator of immune response, is deeply implicated in the complex pathophysiology and development of autoimmune thyroid diseases. Based on the close interplay between thyroid autoimmunity and TGF-β, scientific interest was shifted to the understanding of the possible role of this molecule regarding the diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy of these diseases. The main aim of this review is to present research data about possible treatment options based on the role of TGF-β in thyroid autoimmunity. Suggested TGF-β-mediated therapeutic strategies regarding autoimmune thyroid diseases include either the enhancement of its immunosuppressive role or inhibition of its facilitatory role in thyroid autoimmunity. For example, the application of hr-TGF-β can be used to bolster the inhibitory role of TGF-β regarding the development of thyroid diseases, whereas anti-TGF-β antibodies and similar molecules could impede its immune-promoting effects by blocking different levels of TGF-β biosynthesis and activation pathways. In conclusion, TGF-β could evolve to a promising, novel therapeutic tool for thyroid autoimmunity.
Keywords: TGF-β; autoimmune thyroid diseases; immune cells; pregnancy; therapy; thyroid gland; thyroiditis.