Masala, Speranza and Cossu, Davide and Palermo, Mario and Sechi, Leonardo Antonio (2014) Recognition of zinc transporter 8 and MAP3865c homologous epitopes by Hashimoto's Thyroiditis subjects from Sardinia: a common target with type 1 diabetes? PLoS One, Vol. 9 (5), e97621. ISSN 1932-6203. Article.
Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) asymptomatic infection has been previously linked to Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and Multiple Sclerosis. An association between MAP infection and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) was also proposed only in a case report. This study aimed to investigate the robustness of the latter association, testing a large cohort of HT and healthy control (HCs) subjects, all from Sardinia. Prevalence of anti-MAP3865c Abs was assessed by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Moreover, given that human ZnT8 is specifically expressed in the pancreatic β-cells, in the follicle epithelial cells and in the parafollicular cells of the thyroid gland, we also tested ZnT8 epitopes homologues to the MAP3865c immunodominant peptides previously identified. Indeed, Abs targeting MAP3865c and ZnT8 homologous regions display similar frequencies in patients and controls, thus suggesting that Abs recognizing these epitopes could be cross-reactive. A statistically significant difference was found between HT patients and HCs when analyzing the humoral response mounted against MAP3865c/ZnT8 homologues epitopes. To our knowledge, this is the first report, which provides statistically significant evidence sustaining the existence of an association between MAP sero-reactivity and HT. Further studies are required to investigate the relevance of MAP to HT, aimed at deciphering if this pathogen can be at play in triggering this autoimmune disease. Likewise, genetic polymorphism of the host, and other environmental factors need to be investigated.
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