, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 338–344 | Cite as

Serum interleukin-22 (IL-22) is increased in the early stage of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis compared to non-autoimmune thyroid disease and healthy controls

  • Rosaria Maddalena RuggeriEmail author
  • Paola Minciullo
  • Salvatore Saitta
  • Salvatore Giovinazzo
  • Rosaria Certo
  • Alfredo Campennì
  • Francesco Trimarchi
  • Sebastiano Gangemi
  • Salvatore Benvenga
Research paper


OBJECTIVE: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) is considered to be a Th1-related autoimmune disease (AID). Recent studies revealed that Th17 lymphocytes (producing mostly IL-17, IL-21 and IL-22) play a major role in numerous AIDs commonly thought to be Th1 diseases. More recently, another subset of Th cells, which produce IL-22 and thus so-called Th-22, have been identified. Few data are available in the literature on the role of IL-22, the main soluble mediator of both Th17 and Th22 cells, in HT. DESIGN: Using IL-22 Quantikine ELISA Kit (lower limit of detection 0.7 pg/ml), we assayed serum levels of IL-22 in three groups of subjects: newly diagnosed HT patients (n=55, 5 males and 50 females, age 38 ± 17 years), non-HT patients with nodular goiter (n=30, 4 males and 26 females, age 43 ± 14 years) and an age- and sex-matched group of healthy individuals. HT patients were euthyroid and were not receiving any treatment. RESULTS: HT patients showed significantly higher levels of serum IL-22 (group A, 42 ± 34 pg/ml) as compared to non-HT-goitrous patients (18 ± 15 pg/ml; P < 0.001) and healthy controls (20 ± 13 pg/ml; P=0.014). Serum IL-22 levels did not differ between non-HT-goitrous patients and healthy controls (p=0.496). No significant correlation was found between serum levels of IL-22 and Tg-Ab, TPO-Ab or TSH in the HT patients. CONCLUSIONS: Serum IL-22 is increased in newly diagnosed, untreated HT patients, as compared to thyroid autoimmune disease-free individuals. Our data suggest that IL-22 could play some role in the development of HT.

Key words

Autoimmune thyroid disease Cytokines Hashimoto’s thyroiditis Interleukin 22 Lymphocytes T-Helper 17 and 22 (Th17 and Th22) 


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Copyright information

© Hellenic Endocrine Society 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosaria Maddalena Ruggeri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paola Minciullo
    • 2
  • Salvatore Saitta
    • 2
  • Salvatore Giovinazzo
    • 1
  • Rosaria Certo
    • 1
  • Alfredo Campennì
    • 3
  • Francesco Trimarchi
    • 1
  • Sebastiano Gangemi
    • 2
  • Salvatore Benvenga
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.School and Unit of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  3. 3.Nuclear Medicine Unit, Department of Biomedical Sciences and of Morphological and Functional ImagesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  4. 4.Master on Childhood, Adolescent and Women’s Endocrine HealthUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  5. 5.Interdepartmental Program of Molecular and Clinical Endocrinology & Women’s HealthA.O.U. Policlinico “G. Martino”MessinaItaly

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