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The link between thyroid autoimmunity (antithyroid peroxidase autoantibodies) with anxiety and mood disorders in the community: a field of interest for public health in the future

Mauro Giovanni Carta1*, Andrea Loviselli2, Maria Carolina Hardoy13, Sergio Massa1, Mariangela Cadeddu1, Claudia Sardu4, Bernardo Carpiniello1, Liliana Dell'Osso3 and Stefano Mariotti2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Division of Psychiatry, University of Cagliari, Italy

2 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cagliari, Italy

3 Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiology, Pharmacology, Biotechnology, University of Pisa, Italy

4 Department of Public Health, University of Cagliari, Italy

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BMC Psychiatry 2004, 4:25  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-4-25

Published: 18 August 2004



To evaluate the association between mood and anxiety disorders and thyroid autoimmunity in a community sample. Methods: A community based sample of 222 subjects was examined. Psychiatric diagnoses were formulated using the International Composite Diagnostic Interview Simplified (CIDIS), according to DSM-IV criteria. All subjects underwent a complete thyroid evaluation including physical examination, thyroid echography and measure of serum free T4 (FT4), free T3 (FT3), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and anti-thyroid peroxidase autoantibodies (anti-TPO).


16.6% of the overall sample had an anti-TPO value above the normal cut-off. Subjects with at least one diagnosis of anxiety disorders (OR = 4.2, C.L. 95% 1.9–38.8) or mood disorders (OR = 2.9, Cl 95% 1.4–6.6, P < 0.011) were positive for serum anti-TPO more frequently than subjects without mood or anxiety disorders. A statistically significant association with anti-TPO+ was found in Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (OR = 4.0, CL 95% 1.1–15.5), in Major Depressive Episode (OR = 2.7, CL 95% 1.1–6.7) and Depressive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (OR = 4.4, S CL 95% 1–19.3).


The study seems to suggest that individuals in the community with thyroid autoimmunity may be at high risk for mood and anxiety disorders. The psychiatric disorders and the autoimmune reaction seem to be rooted in a same (and not easy correctable) aberrancy in the immuno-endocrine system. Should our results be confirmed, the findings may be of great interest for future preventive and case finding projects.