From studies of binding of 51Cr-labeled T cells to human thyroid monolayers, we have postulated the existence of tissue 'homing-like' receptors on thyroid cells in patients with Graves' disease (GD). In this study we have investigated whether the CD44 (Hermes-1) protein, well known as a putative human lymphocyte homing receptor, is expressed on thyroid cells in patients with GD, and if so whether its expression is influenced by interferon-γ (IFN-γ). Cell surface CD44, as well as CD54 (ICAM-1), another putative homing receptor, antigens were analyzed by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. CD44 and CD54 were both expressed on thyroid cells from untreated patients with GD, which, in the case of CD44, appeared as two peaks. IFN-γ treatment enhanced the expression of the CD54 protein on Graves' thyroid cells and inhibited the expression of the larger of the two CD44 peaks, but not the other. Only small amounts of CD44 and CD54 were detected on normal thyroid cells, neither of which was affected by IFN-γ. The CD44 protein was also demonstrated on both GD and normal thyroid cells by immunohistochemistry. These findings suggest that CD44, and possibly CD54, may induce putative adhesion pathways that lead to the homing of lymphocytes to the thyroid in patients who develop Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism