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Journal of Thyroid Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 724382, 7 pages
Review Article

Microchimerism in Graves' Disease

Department of Endocrinology and Nutrition, University Clinic of Navarra, University of Navarra, Pio XII 36, 31080 Pamplona, Spain

Received 31 October 2011; Accepted 16 January 2012

Academic Editor: Terry F. Davies

Copyright © 2012 Juan C. Galofré. 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.


Microchimerism is the presence of cells from one individual in another genetically distinct individual. Pregnancy is the main cause of natural microchimerism through transplacental bidirectional cell trafficking between mother and fetus. The consequences of pregnancy-related microchimerism are under active investigation. However, many authors have suggested a close relationship linking fetal microchimerism and the development of autoimmune diseases. It has been more than ten years now since the demonstration of the presence of a significant high number of fetal microchimeric cells residing in thyroid glands from operated patients with Graves' disease. This intrathyroidal fetal microchimerism is an attractive candidate mechanism for the modulation of Graves’ disease in pregnancy and the postpartum period.