Background: Inflammatory cytokines participate in immune reactions and the pathogenesis of autoimmunity. Herein, we quantified four groups of inflammatory cytokines, including interferons (IFNs), the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily (TNFSF), interleukin (IL)-related cytokines, and bone and extracellular matrix remodeling-related cytokines to determine their contributions in women with overt Graves' disease (GD). Methods: Forty-three women with GD were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. Thirty-seven cytokines, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine, and TSH receptor antibody (TSHRAb) were quantified. GD patients with a low TSH level at the time of sample collection were defined as having active GD. Results: Patients with active GD had higher IFN-α2, IFN-γ, IFN-λ1, and IFN-λ2 levels than those with inactive GD. In addition, certain TNFSF cytokines, including soluble cluster of differentiation 30 (sCD30), TNFSF member 14 (TNFSF14), pentraxin (PTX)-3, soluble TNF receptor 2 (sTNF-R2), and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) were higher in active GD than in inactive GD. Moreover, active GD patients had higher IL-2, IL-12(p40), osteocalcin (OCN), and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 than inactive GD patients. All IFNs except IFN-λ1 were correlated with TSHRAb titers. Moreover, TNFSF cytokines, consisting of B-cell-activating factor, sCD30, TNFSF14, PTX-3, sTNF-R2, and TSLP, were associated with TSHRAb levels. Conclusions: Serum IFNs could be the most remarkable cytokines in modulating the disease severity and TSHRAb titers in women with full-blown GD. Further molecular-based research to clarify the actual role of IFNs in the disease progression of GD is needed.
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