Thyroglobulin (Tg) represents one of the largest known self-antigens involved in autoimmunity. Numerous studies have implicated it in triggering and perpetuating the autoimmune response in autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD). Indeed, traditional models of autoimmune thyroid disease, experimental autoimmune thyroiditis (EAT), are generated by immunizing mice with thyroglobulin protein in conjunction with an adjuvant, or by high repeated doses of Tg alone, without adjuvant. These extant models are limited in their experimental flexibility, i.e. the ability to make modifications to the Tg used in immunizations. In this study, we have immunized mice with a plasmid cDNA encoding the full-length human Tg (hTG) protein, in order to generate a model of Hashimoto's thyroiditis which is closer to the human disease and does not require adjuvants to breakdown tolerance. Human thyroglobulin cDNA was injected and subsequently electroporated into skeletal muscle using a square wave generator. Following hTg cDNA immunizations, the mice developed both B and T cell responses to Tg, albeit with no evidence of lymphocytic infiltration of the thyroid. This novel model will afford investigators the means to test various hypotheses which were unavailable with the previous EAT models, specifically the effects of hTg sequence variations on the induction of thyroiditis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology