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High Prevalence of Autoimmune Thyroiditis in Children and Adolescents with Vitiligo

Kroon M.W.a · Vrijman C.a · Chandeck C.a · Wind B.S.a · Wolkerstorfer A.a · Luiten R.M.a · Bos J.D.a · Geskus R.B.b · van Trotsenburg A.S.c · van der Veen J.P.a, d
aDepartment of Dermatology and the Netherlands Institute for Pigment Disorders, bDepartment of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics and cDepartment of Pediatric Endocrinology, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, and dThe Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL), Amsterdam, The Netherlands Horm Res Paediatr 2013;79:137-144 (DOI:10.1159/000348388)


Background/Aims: Vitiligo is considered to be an autoimmune disease and is known to be associated with other autoimmune diseases, particularly affecting the thyroid. In children and adolescents this association has been reported in only a few studies, with varying results. The aim of this study was to examine thyroid function and prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity in children and adolescents with vitiligo and to investigate the utility of screening. Methods: Two hundred and sixty patients with vitiligo were enrolled. Plasma TSH, FT4 and anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibody concentrations were measured. The prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and autoimmunity were compared to the general healthy paediatric population. Results: Autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) with thyroid hormone disturbances was diagnosed in 16 patients (6.2%). This is significantly higher than the prevalence reported in the general healthy paediatric population. Increased levels of anti-TPO antibodies (= 30 kU/l), without thyroid hormone disturbances, were found in 27 patients (10.5%). Conclusion: The prevalence of AIT in children and adolescents with vitiligo is significantly higher than in the general population. It may be advantageous to screen thyroid function and antibody levels in all paediatric patients with non-segmental vitiligo. To strengthen recommendations on screening, research on the burden for patients and cost-effectiveness is needed.


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