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The programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)/PD ligand pathway plays a key role in the maintenance of peripheral tolerance by enhancing the suppressive activity of regulatory T (Treg) cells. The promoter activity of the A allele of PD1 rs36084323 G/A polymorphism is lower than that of the G allele. We examined the association of PD1 gene polymorphisms, PD-1 expression on Treg cells, and thyroid PD-1/PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) expression with the pathogenesis of autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). We classified patients and genotyped PD-1 polymorphisms by using the PCR-RFLP method in a total of 176 Graves' disease (GD) patients, 150 Hashimoto's disease (HD) patients with different disease severities and 99 healthy controls. PD-1 expression on Treg cells was analysed by flow cytometry. Indirect immunofluorescence staining was performed in thyroid tissue to detect PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2. The frequencies of the A allele and the AA + AG genotypes of the PD1 rs36084323 polymorphism were lower in HD patients than in GD patients, and the frequencies of the AA genotype of the PD1 rs36084323 and of the TT genotype of the PD1 rs2227982 were lower in mild HD patients than in severe HD patients. In patients with severe HD, the titres of TgAb at the onset were higher in patients with the PD1 rs36084323 AA genotype than in patients with the GG genotype. Peripheral PD1+ Treg cells tended to decrease in individuals with the PD1 rs36084323 AA genotype than with the G carrier genotype. Peripheral PD-1+ Treg cells were increased in HD, especially in mild HD. PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2 were expressed in thyroid-infiltrating mononuclear cells (TIMCs), and PD-L1 and PD-L2 were expressed in thyroid epithelial cells (TECs) in AITD patients but not in normal controls. Expression of PD-L1 in TIMCs and expression of PD-L2 in TECs were predominant in HD and GD patients, respectively. In conclusion, the functional PD1 rs36084323 polymorphism and the thyroid PD-1/ PD-L1s expression which may enhance the suppressive activity of Treg cells differ between GD and HD, and the PD1 rs36084323 and rs2227982 polymorphisms and PD1+ Treg cells are related to the severity of HD.


Mayumi Kawabata, Naoya Inoue, Mikio Watanabe, Ayaka Kobayashi, Yoh Hidaka, Akira Miyauchi, Yoshinori Iwatani. PD-1 gene polymorphisms and thyroid expression of PD-1 ligands differ between Graves' and Hashimoto's diseases. Autoimmunity. 2021 Nov;54(7):450-459

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PMID: 34494503

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