Serum Levels of B-Cell Activating Factor of TNF Family (BAFF) as a Useful Indicator for the Activity of Graves’ Disease

Sumito Sunagawa, Tsuyoshi Kouki, Shin-ichiro Taira, Rei Ueda, Kouichi Yabiku, Tomomi Ikema, Ayako Nakachi, Chisayo Kozuka, Moritake Higa, Ken Yamakawa, Michio Shimabukuro, Hiroaki Masuzaki


Background: Graves’ disease (GD) is a thyroid-specific autoimmune disorder. Both B-cell activating factor of TNF family (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) are cytokines which share a role for regulating survival and proliferation of B lymphocytes. Elevated level of these cytokines in circulation was observed in several types of autoimmune diseases. However, there were no reports focusing on the potential relationship between BAFF and the activity of GD. To explore the pathophysiologic role of BAFF and APRIL in GD, we investigated serum levels of BAFF and APRIL in patients with GD.

Methods: We enrolled twenty three patients newly diagnosed as GD and twenty healthy donors as controls. We measured serum levels of BAFF and APRIL in patients and controls by ELISA.

Results: Serum level of BAFF was significantly elevated in patients with GD compared to controls (1329 + 435 pg/mL vs. 983 + 308 pg/mL, P < 0.01). Notably, serum BAFF level was significantly correlated with free-T3 to free-T4 ratio (FT3/FT4), a useful indicator for the disease activity of GD.

Conclusions: Findings in the present study offer a novel opportunity to evaluate GD.

J Endocrinol Metab. 2011;1(2):73-78


Cytokine; BAFF; APRIL; Graves’ disease; Autoimmunity; Free T3 to free T4 ratio

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