The Mediation Role of Thyrotropin Receptor Antibody in the Relationship Between Age and Severity of Hyperthyroidism in Graves' Disease

Thyroid. 2022 Oct;32(10):1243-1248. doi: 10.1089/thy.2022.0252. Epub 2022 Sep 28.

Abstract

Background: The severity of hyperthyroidism in Graves' disease (GD) has been reported to be worse in younger patients and to gradually improve with advancing age, accompanied by declining thyrotropin (TSH) receptor antibody (TRAb) values. This study was conducted to explore the extent to which the declining TRAb production may contribute to a decrease in severe hyperthyroidism with advancing age in patients with GD. Methods: This study was a cross-sectional analysis of retrospectively reviewed data. The medical records of patients newly diagnosed with GD at Ito Hospital, between January 2005 and June 2019, were examined. Patients were divided into age-stratified groups for evaluation. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to estimate the odds ratio (OR) of severe hyperthyroidism by increasing age. Mediation analyses were also conducted to quantify the association between age and declining severity of hyperthyroidism mediated through decreased TRAb productivity. Results: A total of 21,018 patients with newly diagnosed GD (3848 male and 17,170 female) were included. A correlation was observed between TRAb value and thyroid hormone values in each age-stratified group, which became weaker with an increase in age. Patients aged <40 years had a higher risk of severe hyperthyroidism (free thyroxine [fT4] level >7.0 ng/dL [n = 5616], OR [confidence interval, CI] = 1.80 [1.68-1.92]; free triiodothyronine [fT3] level >25 pg/mL [n = 4501], OR [CI] = 2.06 [1.92-2.23]) than those aged ≧40 years. In examining the relationship between age and severe hyperthyroidism, the proportion mediated through TRAb productivity was 8.5% and 8.4% using fT4 and fT3 as an outcome index, respectively. Conclusions: Declining TRAb value mediated only 8.5% of the negative association between age and severity of hyperthyroidism. The presence of other underlying mechanisms, such as the decline in the reactivity of thyrocytes to TSH stimulation, requires further investigation.

Keywords: Graves' disease; TSH receptor antibody; aging; hyperthyroidism.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Autoantibodies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Graves Disease* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism*
  • Male
  • Receptors, Thyrotropin
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine
  • Triiodothyronine

Substances

  • Autoantibodies
  • Receptors, Thyrotropin
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine
  • Triiodothyronine