Serum autoimmune reactions are found in many patients with hepatitis C. A high prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and antithyroid antibodies in patients with chronic hepatitis C was recently reported. We have compared the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and antithyroid peroxidase antibodies in blood donors with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (study group) and in seronegative anti-HCV donors (control group). One hundred and ninety-two blood donors were studied: 96 were anti-HCV positive by ELISA 2 (48 males and 48 females; age 48 +/- 12.9 years, mean +/- SD), and 96 were HCV seronegative (55 males and 41 females; age 37 +/- 14.8 years). In all patients, serum TSH (0.25-4.2 mU/l) and fT4 (9-23 pmol/l) were measured by immunochemiluminiscent assays and antithyroid peroxidase antibodies (normal < 100 U/ml) by RIA. In all anti-HCV positive donors, hepatitis C viremia was tested using the nested polymerase chain reaction. Thyroid dysfunction was found in three females (3.1%) in the anti-HCV positive group (three cases of hypothyroidism), and in four (4.1%) anti-HCV negative blood donors (three cases of hypothyroidism, two females and one male; one case of hyperthyroidism, a female), (p = NS). Antithyroid peroxidase antibody titers were above normal values in 5 (5.2%) anti-HCV positive individuals and in eight (8.3%) anti-HCV negative blood donors (p = NS). These results do not show an increase prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and antithyroid peroxidase antibodies in blood donors with HCV infection when compared with a control group.