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Journal of Thyroid Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 675703, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/675703
Review Article

Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases in Children

Unit of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Piazza S. Onofrio 4, 00165 Rome, Italy

Received 28 August 2010; Revised 10 October 2010; Accepted 19 October 2010

Academic Editor: Gary L. Francis

Copyright © 2011 Marco Cappa 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.

Abstract

The two major autoimmune thyroid diseases (ATDs) include Graves' disease (GD) and autoimmune thyroiditis (AT); both of which are characterized by infiltration of the thyroid by T and B cells reactive to thyroid antigens, by the production of thyroid autoantibodies and by abnormal thyroid function (hyperthyroidism in GD and hypothyroidism in AT). While the exact etiology of thyroid autoimmunity is not known, it is believed to develop when a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental encounters leads to breakdown of tolerance. It is important to recognize thyroid dysfunction at an early stage by maintaining an appropriate index of suspicion.