Evidence for autoimmune mechanisms in the evolution of invasive fibrous thyroiditis (Riedel's struma)

A. E. Heufelder, I. D. Hay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The etiology of Riedel's invasive fibrous thyroiditis, a rare disorder confused in the past with the more common fibrous variant of Hashimoto's disease, has remained obscure. However, the presence of mononuclear cells in the fibrosclerotic process and the detection of autoantibodies directed against thyroid-specific antigens in a large proportion of patients with invasive fibrous thyroiditis favor an autoimmune pathogenesis of invasive fibrous thyroiditis. Further, an association between invasive fibrous thyroiditis and Hashimoto's thyroiditis has been suggested. Here we report the first two patients in whom invasive fibrous thyroiditis evolved from antecedent Graves' disease, documented by the presence of thyroid dysfunction, bilateral ophthalmopathy, and thyrotropin receptor stimulating autoantibodies. The diagnosis of invasive fibrous thyroiditis was established in both instances on the basis of the established histopathological criteria. The presence of extensive mononuclear cell infiltration within the invasive fibrosclerotic process in these two patients, the close relationship between thyroid-specific autoantibodies, inflammatory parameters, and disease activity, and the response to glucocorticoid therapy all suggest the existence of a link between Graves' disease and invasive fibrous thyroditis. These findings support the notion of autoimmune mechanisms playing a role in the pathogenesis of Riedel's invasive fibrous thyroiditis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)788-793
Number of pages6
JournalThe Clinical Investigator
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1994


  • Autoimmunity
  • Fibrosclerosis
  • Graves' disease
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis
  • Pathogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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