Department of Immunology, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
The hepatitis C virus infection represents an important public health problem and is associated with various hepatic and extrahepatic manifestations. Symptoms outside of the liver can occur in multiple organ systems, including hematologic, renal, dermatologic, endocrine, and rheumatologic systems. Among these different organ systems, special attention has focused on the endocrine system because it affects almost every organ in the body. Among the endocrine disorders, thyroid problems are the most common and the thyroid is one of the principal target organs for extrahepatic manifestations in HCV infected patients. In addition, research data suggest that interferon treatment may be associated with immune-mediated thyroid lesions. However, case reports suggest that the response of thyroid extrahepatic manifestations to interferon in patients with chronic HCV is greatly different. The objective of this study was to summarize currently available data on thyroid conditions associated with chronic HCV infection. Moreover, we investigate the incidence of the development of immune mediated thyroid disorders during interferon therapy in these patients.