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Autoimmune thyroid disease 

Autoimmune thyroid disease
Chapter:
Autoimmune thyroid disease
Author(s):

Anthony P. Weetman

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199235292.003.3136
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date: 10 December 2017

Along with neoplasia, autoimmunity is the most common cause of endocrine disease and, of this group of disorders, thyroid autoimmunity is the most frequent. Conversely, the autoimmune thyroid diseases are the most common organ-specific or nonorgan-specific autoimmune conditions affecting any site.

This prevalence, the ease of access to the target organ, the often slow progression of disease, and the historical legacy of being the first distinctive autoimmune process to be defined, have ensured that there is now a reasonable understanding of the main factors involved in pathogenesis. This chapter assumes a basic knowledge of immunology; readers unfamiliar with this topic can obtain further details about the fundamental processes involved in self/non-self discrimination by the immune system elsewhere (1).

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