[Thyroid function tests].

Rinsho byori. The Japanese journal of clinical pathology

PubMedID: 11391943

Uchimura H. [Thyroid function tests]. Rinsho Byori. 2001;49(4):319-24.
About 80% of thyroid disease consists of thyroid-specific autoimmune diseases, Hashimoto's disease and Grave's disease. To diagnose thyroid diseases, testings for (1) thyroid function and (2) pathogenetic autoantibodies are indispensable. To assess thyroid function, serum hormone concentrations, such as TSH, FT4 and FT3 are measured. Among these hormones, serum TSH concentrations are the most reliable and informative regarding thyroid function, correcting indicating a hyperthyroid, euthyroid or hypothyroid state. Therefore, TSH measurement appears to be the first choice in selecting the hormone determination. Reference intervals for normal healthy subjects of TSH are around 0.4-5.0 microU/ml. The second choice for thyroid function assessment are FT4 which supersedes total T4(TT4). TT4 is affected by changes in serum thyroid hormone binding proteins(TBG, TTR, Albumin). For example, euthyroid pregnant women whose serum TBG are physiologically higher than those of non-pregnant women show augmentation of TT4. However, FT4 depicts within reference intervals, although measurement of FT4 alone is unable to detect any abnormality of thyroid hormone binding proteins. According to its plasma concentration and binding affinity, FT3 measurement deserves no more significance than T3. Another important test for thyroid diseases is to detect serum autoantibodies against thyroid tissues, such as TgAb, TPOAb. Much more important is TSH receptor antibody which differentiates Graves' disease from Hashimoto's thyroiditis. In patients who show hyperthyroidism and some very uncommon hypothyroidism, TSH receptor antibodies should be measured. Three indicators are available as routine tests; TRAb measured by radioreceptor assay; TSAb determined by bioassay using cultured porcine thyroid cells. Usually, TRAb activity clinically correlates well with TSAb. TSBAb was initially discovered in patients with severe hypothyroidism with atrophic thyroid gland. TSBAb blocks thyroid stimulating activity of TSH and consequently causes severe hypothyroidism. TRAb and TSAb are very useful to diagnose and follow patients with Grave's disease.