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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 150239, 6 pages
Clinical Study

High Prevalence of Antinuclear Antibodies in Children with Thyroid Autoimmunity

1Department of Pediatrics, Endocrinology Unit, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Via Regina Elena 324, 00161 Rome, Italy
2Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, Rheumatology, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Received 8 December 2013; Accepted 8 January 2014; Published 24 February 2014

Academic Editor: Marvin J. Fritzler

Copyright © 2014 Maria Segni et al. 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.


Background. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) are a hallmark of many autoimmune diseases and can be detected many years before disease onset. Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) are frequently associated with other organ- and non-organ-specific autoimmune disorders. Objectives. To assess the prevalence of ANA in pediatric patients with AITD and their clinical correlations. Methods. Ninety-three consecutive pediatric patients with AITD were enrolled (86 children with chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis and 7 with Graves’ disease). ANA, anti-double DNA (anti-dsDNA) antibodies, anti-extractable nuclear antigen (anti-ENA), anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies (anti-CCP), and rheumatoid factor (RF) was obtained. Signs and symptoms potentially related to rheumatic diseases in children were investigated by a questionnaire. Results. ANA positivity was found in 66/93 children (71%), anti-ENA in 4/93 (4.3%), anti-dsDNA in 1/93 (1.1%), RF in 3/93 (3.2%), and anti-CCP in none. No significant differences were found between the ANA-positive and ANA-negative groups with respect to age, sex, L-thyroxine treatment, or prevalence of other autoimmune diseases. Overall, parental autoimmunity was found in 23%. Conclusions. ANA positivity was demonstrated in 71% of children with AITD. ANA positivity was not related to overt immune-rheumatic diseases. However, because the positivity of ANA can occur even many years before the onset of systemic autoimmune diseases, prospective studies are warranted.