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Impact of month of birth on the development of autoimmune thyroid disease in the United Kingdom and Europe

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Simon PearceORCiD, Dr Bijayeswar Vaidya



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Context: Viral/bacterial infection is proposed as a trigger for the autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD): Graves' disease (GD) and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT). Previous studies in European Caucasian AITD subjects found higher birth rates in the autumn/winter, suggesting those born in the autumn/winter experience increased viral/bacterial exposure after birth, impacting upon immune system development and predisposing to AITD later in life. Objective: Month of birth effects were investigated in three independent European Caucasian AITD datasets. Design: Variation in GD and HT onset was compared across months and seasons, with fluctuations across all 12 months analyzed using a Walter-Elwood test. Setting: The study was conducted at a research laboratory. Patients: National UK Caucasian AITD Case Control Collection (2746 GD and 502 HT compared with 1 423 716 UK births), National UK Caucasian GD Family Collection (239 GD and 227 unaffected siblings), and OXAGEN AITD Caucasian Family Collection (885 GD, 717 HT, and 794 unaffected siblings of European Caucasian decent). Main Outcome Measures: Case-control and family-based association studies were measured. Results: No consistent month of birth effects were detected in GD females or males across all three collections. In HT females from theOXAGENAITD Caucasian Family Collection, slightly higher birth rates were detected in autumn (Walter's test statistic = 7.47, P = .024) however, this was not seen in the HT females from the case-control cohort. Conclusion: Our results suggest in UK/Northern European Caucasian GD subjects, month of birth does not impactonAITD development. Althoughsomemonthof birth effects forHTfemales in one collection cannot be excluded, only further work in larger European Caucasian AITD collections can confirm these effects. Copyright © 2014 by the Endocrine Society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hamilton A, Newby PR, Carr-Smith JD, Disanto G, Allahabadia A, Armitage M, Brix TH, Chatterjee K, Connell JM, Hegedus L, Hunt PJ, Lazarus JH, Pearce SH, Robinson BG, Taylor JC, Vaidya B, Wass JAH, Wiersinga WM, Weetman AP, Ramagopalan SV, Franklyn JA, Gough SCL, Simmonds MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

Year: 2014

Volume: 99

Issue: 8

Pages: E1459-E1465

Print publication date: 01/08/2014

Online publication date: 19/05/2014

Acceptance date: 09/05/2014

Date deposited: 23/11/2017

ISSN (print): 0021-972X

ISSN (electronic): 1945-7197

Publisher: Endocrine Society


DOI: 10.1210/jc.2014-1270

PubMed id: 24840812


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