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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 3687420, 9 pages
Research Article

The Expression of T Cell FOXP3 and T-Bet Is Upregulated in Severe but Not Euthyroid Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

1Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Tissue Typing, Osijek University Hospital, Josipa Huttlera 4, 31000 Osijek, Croatia
2Faculty of Medicine, University of Osijek, Cara Hadrijana 10E, 31000 Osijek, Croatia
3Laboratory of Immunogenomics, Department of Pathological Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacký University, 775 20 Olomouc, Czech Republic
4Clinical Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Protection, Osijek University Hospital, Josipa Huttlera 4, 31000 Osijek, Croatia

Received 9 February 2016; Revised 20 May 2016; Accepted 1 June 2016

Academic Editor: Anshu Agrawal

Copyright © 2016 Stana Tokić 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.


Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) is an organ-specific autoimmune disorder characterized by progressive thyroid failure. Th1 and Treg subset of CD4+ cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis; however, less is known about their respective roles across the spectrum of HT clinical presentations. To shed more light on CD4+ subsets role in HT, we investigated the mRNA expression levels of several Th1/Treg-associated transcription factors (T-bet/ETS1, HIF1α/BLIMP1/FOXP3) in peripheral blood T cells of 10 hypothyroid, untreated HT patients, 10 hypothyroid patients undergoing hormone replacement therapy, 12 euthyroid HT subjects, and 11 healthy controls by the qRT-PCR. Compared to euthyroid HT patients and controls, both hypothyroid (2.34-fold difference versus controls, ) and thyroxine-supplemented patients (2.5-fold, ) showed an increased FOXP3 mRNA expression in T cells. Similarly, mRNA expression levels of T-bet were upregulated in severely affected but not in euthyroid HT subjects (2.37-fold and 3.2-fold, hypothyroid and thyroxine-supplemented HT patients versus controls, resp., ). By contrast, no differences in mRNA expression levels of ETS1, BLIMP1, and HIF1α were observed across the study groups. In summary, severe but not euthyroid HT was associated with robust upregulation of T-bet and FOXP3 mRNA in peripheral T cells, independent of the thyroid hormone status but proportional to disease activity.