TSHR-specific lymphocytes in Graves´ disease patient blood
The development of innovative peptides that restore tolerance to the antigen led to the improvement of all disease symptoms.
Relevant immune mechanisms which target specific (auto-)antigens have been identified using blood samples from Graves´ disease (GD) patients, studying autoantibodies and immune cells. They allow to investigate regulatory T cells and specific antibody responses, which are also observed in the clinically well established specific immune therapy of allergic diseases.
Innovative peptides have been conceived to treat GD – they mimic the cylindrical loops of the extracellular A domain of the pivotal thyroid stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR). These peptides act as tolerizing compounds, i. e. they re-establish tolerance towards the antigen. In long-term GD models, they improved all disease symptoms after 2–3 monthly injections. However, they did not induce any immune response in naïve mice.
This therapeutic concept has been further developed and expanded to treat other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), where initial lead compounds have been identified in disease models.
Degen H, Gavvovidis J, Blankenstein T, Uhland K, Ungerer M. TSHR-specific lymphocytes in Ad-TSHR-immunized native and HLA-DR3-transgenic mice and in Graves´ disease patient blood. Thyroid 2020, online preprint
doi: 10.1089/thy.2020.0338; https://doi.org/10.1089/thy.2020.0338