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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 12 (2005), Issue 2, Pages 137-143

Monoclonal Antibodies to the Thyrotropin Receptor

Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Box 1055, 1 Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, USA

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The thyrotropin receptor (TSHR) is a seven transmembrane G-protein linked glycoprotein expressed on the thyroid cell surface and which, under the regulation of TSH, controls the production and secretion of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland. This membrane protein is also a major target antigen in the autoimmune thyroid diseases. In Graves' disease, autoantibodies to the TSHR (TSHR-Abs) stimulate the TSHR to produce thyroid hormone excessively. In autoimmune thyroid failure, some patients exhibit TSHR-Abs which block TSH action on the receptor. There have been many attempts to generate human stimulating TSHR-mAbs, but to date, only one pathologically relevant human stimulating TSHR-mAb has been isolated. Most mAbs to the TSHR have been derived from rodents immunized with TSHR antigen from bacteria or insect cells. These antigens lacked the native conformation of the TSHR and the resulting mAbs were exclusively blocking or neutral TSHR-mAbs. However, mAbs raised against intact native TSHR antigen have included stimulating mAbs. One such stimulating mAb has demonstrated a number of differences in its regulation of TSHR post-translational processing. These differences are likely to be reflective of TSHR-Abs seen in Graves' disease.