Journal of Korean Endocrine Society 1999;14(1):160-164.
Published online January 1, 2001.
A Case of Graves' Disease with Spuriously Elevsted TSH due to Interference of Heterophilin Actibodies.
Jeong Hee Han, Sung Jin Lee, Young Rok Sin, Eun Ju Lee, Eun Sook Kim, Sang Wook Kim, Jin Yub Kim, Il Min Ahn
Department of Internal Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is the most sensitive marker reflecting thyroid function. TraditionaUy, TSH concentration was measured by the method of RadioImmunoAssay (RIA) with the detection limits around 1 to 2 mIU/L, which was unable to differentiate hyperthyroid status. Since 1980s, owing to the sensitive assay for TSH, immunoradiometric assay (IRMA), it has been possible to detect low concentration of TSH by 0.001 mlU/L. TSH is composed of two glycopeptide subunits, a-subunit and B-subunit. Monoclonal antibodies, directed against two different sites of the TSH peptides, are used in IRMA. One antibody is directed toward the specific B-subunit of TSH molecule and is used to extract it from serum, a second antibody labelled with a radioactive material is then attached to the separated TSH to form "sandwhich" molecule that can be measured. Generally, mouse monoclonal antibodies are used as capture and detection antibodies. Infrequently, when there is heterophilic antibody, i.e. human anti-mouse antibody (HAMA), TSH can be measured as spuriously elevated, since HAMA may form a link between the signal and capture molecules. We report a case of inappropriately elevated TSH concentration due to heterophilic antibody, later diagnosed as Graves disease. A 41-year-old woman visited our clinic with the chief complaints of hand tremor, hyperphagia, weight loss for 3 months. Two years earlier, she underwent total colectomy due to colon cancer and had treat on multiple chemotherapies. The results of thyroid function test shows that TSH was 0.77 mIU/L, free T was 7.1 ng/dL (0.8~1.9), free T was 11.3 pg/mL (0.2~5.5). Thyroid specific auto- antibody results were anti-Tg-Ab 21.3 m/mL(0 100), anti-TPO-Ab 87.9m/mL(0100), TBIAb 7.8% (-15/15). Thyroid scan showed that radioactiveiodine uptake was increased and thyroid gland wasenlarged diffusely. Because TSH level was elevated, further evaluations were performed to differentiate with TSH producing pituitary tumor and pituitary resistance to thyroid hormone. Sellar MRI was normal, TRH stimulation test showed flat response. Since spurious elevation of TSH is possible at the presence of hetrophilic antibody, we rechecked TSH concentration after adding mouse monoclonal antibody to the patients serum with result of TSH less than 0.05 mIU/L. She was able to be diagnosed as Graves disease, and started with methimazole. Three months later, thyroid function test showed that TSH was 10.5 mIU/L, free T4 was 1.0 ng/dL, free T3 was 4.0 pg/mL. TSH level after removal the effect of heterophilic antibody with mouse monoclonal antibody was 0.71 mIU/L. Neutropenia was developed 5 months after methimazole therapy, to stop antithyroid medication. With the plan of radioactive iodine therapy if she relapses, she is being followed with periodic thyroid function test. We report a case of Graves disease with spuriously elevated TSH due to the effect of heterophilic antibodies.
Key Words: TSH, Heterophilic antibody, RIA, IRMA, Monoclonal antibodies, Anti-mouse antibody, HAMA

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