The role of transforming growth factor beta in thyroid autoimmunity: current knowledge and future perspectives

Kardalas Efstratios 1 , Sakkas Evangelos 1 2 , Ruchala Marek 3 , Macut Djuro 4 , Mastorakos George 5

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PMID: 34529221 DOI: 10.1007/s11154-021-09685-7


The complex mechanisms, which are related to the pathophysiology and the development of autoimmune thyroid diseases, involve transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) and its interplay with the immune system. The aim of this review is to examine the role of TGF-β regarding thyroid autoimmunity and explore the potent role of this molecule either as a diagnostic or prognostic marker or a therapeutic target regarding autoimmune thyroid diseases. TGF-β is clearly a master regulator of the immune response, exerting either inhibitory or facilitatory effects on cells of the immune system. Thus, this molecule is involved in the pathogenesis and development of autoimmune thyroid diseases. Recent research has revealed the involvement of TGF-β in the pathophysiology of autoimmune thyroid diseases. The role of TGF-β in the development of autoimmune thyroid diseases varies, depending on its concentrations, the type of the activated TGF-β signalling pathway, the genetic predisposition of the patient and the pathophysiologic stage of the disease. TGF-β could emerge as a useful diagnostic or prognostic marker for the evolution of thyroid autoimmunity. Promising perspectives for the effective therapeutic use of TGF-β regarding thyroid autoimmunity exist. The main treatment approaches incorporate either enhancement of the immunosuppressive role of TGF-β or inhibition of its facilitatory role in the autoimmune thyroid diseases. Further research towards deeper understanding of TGF-β physiology and clinical application of its possible therapeutic role regarding thyroid autoimmunity is needed..