Abstract: Binding of thyrotropin to selected Mycoplasma species: detection of serum antibodies against a specific Mycoplasma membrane antigen in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease

Sack J, Zilberstein D, Barile MF, Lukes YG, Baker JR Jr, Wartofsky L, Burman KD.

Department of Medicine, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC 20307-5001. J Endocrinol Invest 1989 Feb;12(2):77-86

Radiolabeled human (hTSH) and bovine (bTSH) thyroid stimulating hormone was shown to bind to five species of Mycoplasma, the wall-less prokaryotes. The maximum binding capacity of 125I-bTSH to these five species was about 7.9 x 10(-13) moles-1.4 x 10(-12) moles for 50-100 micrograms protein with dissociation constants of approximately 1.7 to 2.2 x 10(-7)M.

Approximately 50% of the 125I-bTSH binding was displaced by excess, unlabeled bTSH or hTSH, but labeled bTSH was not effectively displaced by growth hormone, LH, FSH, prolactin, or the beta subunit of hTSH, FSH and LH. Antisera prepared against Mycoplasma gallisepticum and Mycoplasma pneumoniae bound to human thyroid membranes and guinea pig fat cells, suggesting that receptors on human thyroid tissues and on Mycoplasma cells may have similarities in antigenicity.

These findings were substantiated by the occurrence of TSH binding to Mycoplasma antisera. Further, sera from three of six patients with Graves’ disease containing antibodies to thyroid tissues also reacted to a 108 Kd polypeptide of Mycoplasma gallisepticum.

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