What is the role of IL-6 testing in the diagnosis of subacute thyroiditis?

Updated: Mar 23, 2021
  • Author: Stephanie L Lee, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Serum IL-6 levels are increased, probably reflecting ongoing inflammation. While other parameters, such as ESR and CRP, decrease during corticosteroid therapy, IL-6 levels continue to increase (up to 17 days in some patients). This probably reflects dissociation between persistent release of IL-6 from the damaged thyroid cells and immediate inhibition of secondary inflammatory reactions by corticosteroids.

A Japanese study derived from a medical records review of 852 patients with subacute thyroiditis found that most of the laboratory test–based indications for thyrotoxicosis and thyroiditis-associated inflammation peaked within a week after the onset of subacute thyroiditis. [27]


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