T Rink, H J Schroth, L H Holle, H Garth



Aim: The effect of an iodine prophylaxis on the induction of Hashimoto's thyroiditis as well as the influence of various therapeutic approaches on the course of antithyroglobulin (TgAb) and antiperoxidase (TPOAb) antibodies in manifest diseases are evaluated.

Method: A collective of 375 euthyroid subjects without relevant goiter received daily doses of 200 micrograms iodide, weekly doses of 1.53 milligrams iodide, or no medication. A second group of 377 patients suffering from Hashimoto's thyroiditis was treated with a non-suppressive hormone medication, a suppressive hormone administration, a combination of a non-suppressive hormone therapy with low dose iodide (50-150 micrograms/day), mere iodide in doses of 200 micrograms/day, or received no therapy. The mean observation period in these two groups was 860 and 848 days, respectively.

Results: There was no significant increase of the antibody levels in the subgroup with 200 micrograms iodide/day and in the non-treated subjects of the first collective. However, the group that received 1.53 milligrams iodide/week presented a distinct increase of the TgAb as well as the TPOAb, and the incidence of Hashimoto's thyroiditis was 4-fold higher than in the two other subgroups. The patients of the second collective revealed a significant decrease of the TgAb in the subgroups treated with up to 200 micrograms iodide/day, while the reduction of the TPOAb depended on the thyrotropin level and was most significant in the suppressed group (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: To lower the incidence of autoimmune thyroid diseases in predisposed subjects, a daily iodine supplementation seems to be superior to high-dose weekly administrations. A hormone therapy combined with a daily, low-dose iodine medication is able to reduce the TgAb and the TPOAb levels even in patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis.