Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an organ-specific autoimmune disease in which both genetic predisposition and environmental factors serve as the trigger of the disease. A growing body of evidence suggests involvement of viral infection in the development of Hashimoto's thyroiditis. However, not only pathogenic microorganisms but also non-pathogenic commensal microorganisms induce proinflammatory or regulatory immune responses within the host. In accordance, series of studies indicate a critical role of intestinal commensal microbiota in the development of autoimmune diseases including inflammatory bowel diseases, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. In contrast, the role of the gut and indigenous microorganisms in Hashimoto's thyroiditis has received little attention. Whereas activation of innate pattern recognition receptors such as Toll-like receptors and disturbed intestinal epithelial barrier may contribute to thyroiditis development, only a few studies have addressed a link between the gut and Hashimoto's thyroiditis and provided just indirect and weak evidence for such a link. Despite this unsatisfactory situation, we here focus on the possible interaction between the gut and thyroid autoimmunity. Further studies are clearly needed to test the hypothesis that the gut commensal microflora represents an important environmental factor triggering Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 2012 Nov|
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