Chemokines, a group of proinflammatory chemotactic cytokines, function to recruit leukocytes to inflammation sites, but they also play important roles in tumor growth, angiogenesis, organ sclerosis, and autoimmunity. In recent years, increasing evidence has accumulated to support the concept that thyroid epithelial cells (TEC) as well as the lymphocytes infiltrating into the thyroid are capable of producing CC and CXC chemokines. They, in turn, promote the initiation and maintenance of an inflammatory response, resulting in the development of autoimmune thyroiditis. This review focused on the role of chemokines in the pathogenesis in the two well-defined murine models of autoimmune thyroiditis, experimentally autoimmune thyroiditis (EAT) in DBA/1 and CBA/J mice and iodine-induced spontaneous autoimmune thyroiditis (SAT) in NOD.H-2h4 mice. Recent patents which focus on chemokines as novel therapeutic targets in autoimmune thyroiditis were also discussed in this review. Such study might improve our knowledge about the roles of chemokines in autoimmune thyroiditis.
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA 65201.