Horm Metab Res 1996; 28(6): 280-285
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-979792
Originals Clinical

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

CD5+ B Cells in Graves' Disease: Correlation with Disease Activity

J. J. Corrales2 , A. Orfao1 , A. López1 , M. T. Mories2 , J. M. Miralles2 , J. Ciudad1
  • 1Servicios de Endocrinología y de Citometría, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain
  • 2Departamento de Medicina, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain
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Publication Date:
23 April 2007 (online)


In the present paper the distribution of peripheral blood CD5+/CD19+ (CD5+B) and CD5-/CD19+ (CD5-B) B-lymphocytes in Graves' disease (GD) patients is analyzed in order to correlate them with disease activity, interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL-6 binding to T and B cells as well as with anti-thyrotropin (TSH) receptor antibodies and the thyroid hormone serum levels. The combination of flow cytometry and 3-color immunofluorescence revealed a remarkable increase in the absolute numbers of CD5+ B cells in hyperthyroid-untreated GD patients (218 ± 137 × 106/I vs. 66 ± 69 × 106/I in healthy subjects, p < 0.01) that gradually fell to normal values once hyperthyroidism had been controlled by methimazole. However, relative numbers of CD5+ B cells persisted at a relatively stable but increased level in GD patients in long term remission of an average of 3.1 years. This was also confirmed in a follow-up study of a group of 12 newly diagnosed patients during the first 90 days of anti-thyroid drug therapy with methimazole. No correlation was observed between either CD5+ B cells or CD5- B cells and the serum levels of pathogenic anti-TSH receptor antibodies. Increased numbers of CD5+ B cells were related to the increased free thyroxine and total triiodothyronine serum levels. In addition, a strong correlation between both the absolute levels of B cells binding to exogenous IL-2 and IL-6 and the absolute number of CD5+ B cells in hyperthyroid GD patients (LR = 0.798, p < 0.001; LR = 0.569, p < 0.01, respectively) was observed. These results suggest that CD5+ B cells in GD are partly regulated by thyroid hormone serum levels as well as by IL-2 and IL-6 binding to B cells. Nevertheless, they are not involved, at least directly, in the production of anti-TSH receptor antibodies.