Graves’ disease is an autoimmune thyroid disorder typically characterized by low thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and elevated T4 and/or T3 values, which lead to hyperthyroidism. The causative agent of Graves' Disease is thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI). While the disease has been known for many years, onset is often subtle, with nonspecific symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, and sudden weight loss, making it difficult to diagnose without proper lab testing. However, elevated levels of TSI in a patient’s bloodstream, which are specific to Graves’ disease, can be detected using the Thyretain TSI Reporter BioAssay. The results of this assay can provide physicians with an important aid in the diagnosis of Graves’ disease.
Graves’ disease is a B-cell mediated autoimmune response to the thyroid stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) on the thyroid gland, but the etiology of the disease is unknown. It is suspected that the disease is at least in part hereditary, and that a family history of other thyroid or autoimmune disorders increases the chance that a patient will eventually develop Graves’ disease.
In addition, environmental factors can trigger the immune system to produce TSI. These factors include other diseases, medications, or hormonal stress, i.e. due to pregnancy. Research suggests that factors that trigger the immune system may cause an overreaction to another foreign substance, which in turn triggers the immune system to produce TSI.