Soluble IL-2 receptor levels in patients with Graves' ophthalmopathy

M. F. Prummel, W. M. Wiersinga, R. van der Gaag, M. P. Mourits, L. Koornneef

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In various autoimmune diseases circulating levels of soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R) seem to be related to disease activity. Because reliable parameters of disease activity in Graves' ophthalmopathy are lacking, we measured sIL-2R levels in 47 patients with this disorder. The patients had Graves' disease, but no other immune-mediated diseases, had not yet received specific treatment for their ophthalmopathy and were euthyroid during the entire study period. Twenty-one of the 47 patients (45%) had sIL-2R values above the upper normal limit of 650 U/ml, as established in 20 healthy controls. There were no differences between patients with normal (median 469, range 280-644 U/ml) and elevated (median 946, range 678-1588 U/ml) sIL-2R levels regarding duration or severity of the eye disease (as assessed clinically from the total eye score). However, patients with severely enlarged eye muscles had higher sIL-2R values than patients with less severely enlarged eye muscles on CT scan. Patients with elevated sIL-2R tended to have a higher response rate (71%) to a 3-month course of prednisone, than those with normal levels (46%; P = 0.081). Since a successful outcome of prednisone treatment might be representative for disease activity, the elevated sIL-2R levels seem to reflect active inflammation. Although the practical relevance of this finding in individual patients is limited, it underscores the importance of cell-mediated immune responses in this thyroid-related eye disease
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-409
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1992

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