Autoimmune thrombocytopenia (AITP) and thyroid autoimmune disease (TAD): overlapping syndromes?

Clin Exp Immunol. 1998 Sep;113(3):373-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2249.1998.00677.x.


The pathogenesis of thrombocytopenia associated with TAD and the occurrence of overlapping traits between TAD and AITP are still a matter of debate. For this reason, we investigated for the presence and specificity of platelet and thyroid autoantibodies in 18 TAD patients with thrombocytopenia, 19 TAD patients without thrombocytopenia and in 22 patients with primary AITP without clinical signs of TAD. Platelet-associated IgG and/or specific circulating platelet autoantibodies were detected in 83% of patients with TAD and thrombocytopenia, in 10% of patients with TAD without thrombocytopenia and in 86% of patients with primary AITP. The reactivity of serum autoantibodies, assayed by MoAb immobilization of platelet antigens (MAIPA), was directed against platelet glycoproteins Ib and/or IIb/IIIa in 50% of the patients with TAD and thrombocytopenia, as in 46% of the patients with primary AITP. Thyroid autoantibodies were found in 89% of patients with TAD and thrombocytopenia, in 95% of patients with TAD without thrombocytopenia, and in 18% of patients with primary AITP. Thyrotropin (TSH) levels determined in three of four AITP patients with thyroid autoantibodies revealed a subclinical hyperthyroidism in one patient. The present study supports the autoimmune aetiology of thrombocytopenia associated with TAD, since the prevalence and specificity of platelet autoantibodies are similar in TAD and primary AITP. The results indicate also that there exists an overlap between thyroid and platelet autoimmunity with or without clinical manifestations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology*
  • Blood Platelets / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Thrombocytopenia / immunology*
  • Thyroid Diseases / immunology*
  • Thyroid Gland / immunology*


  • Autoantibodies