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EBV linked to autoimmune thyroid diseases

Researchers have discovered a high prevalence of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) in Graves’ and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis patients.

The team found expression of EBV proteins in tissue samples from 81% of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis cases and 63% of Graves´ disease cases.

EBV, Graves’ and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have been often linked with ME and CFS.

Hashimoto’s mimics CFS in many symptoms: fatigue, brain fog, light sensitivity, and weight gain. The diagnosis of Hashimoto’s is primarily through elevated TPO antibodies, indicating that the body is attacking itself.

This new research underlines the importance of testing for Hashimoto’s and Graves’ at the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome, particularly following glandular fever.

Both dysregulations can be treated. In particular, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (myxedema) can be treated with  the thyroid hormone (Armour thyroid).

More information about diagnoses and treatment for hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is available on websites such as and

You can read more about the EBV findings in the abstract below or read the full paper.


Endokrynol Pol. 2015;66(2):132-6. doi: 10.5603/EP.2015.0020.

The role of Epstein-Barr virus infection in the development of autoimmune thyroid diseases
Janega P, Rychly B, Kuracinova K, Babal P.

INTRODUCTION: Autoimmune thyroid diseases, including Graves’ and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, are the most frequent autoimmune disorders. Viral infection, including Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), is one of the most frequently considered environmental factors involved in autoimmunity. Its role in the development of AITD has not been confirmed so far.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Surgical specimens of Graves’ and Hashimoto’s diseases and nodular goitres were included in the study. The expression of EBV latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) was analysed by immunohistochemistry, with the parallel detection of virus-encoded small nuclear non-polyadenylated RNAs (EBER) by in situ hybridisation.

RESULTS: In none of the Graves’ disease specimens but in 34.5% of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis cases the cytoplasmic expression of LMP1 was detected in follicular epithelial cells and in infiltrating lymphocytes. EBER nuclear expression was detected in 80.7% of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis cases and 62.5% of Graves´ disease cases, with positive correlation between LMP1 and EBER positivity in all Hashimoto’s thyroiditis LMP1-positive cases.

CONCLUSIONS: We assume that high prevalence of EBV infection in cases of Hashimoto’s and Graves’ diseases imply a potential aetiological role of EBV in autoimmune thyroiditis. 

The initiation of autoimmune thyroiditis could start with EBV latency type III infection of follicular epithelium characterised by LMP1 expression involving the production of inflammatory mediators leading to recruitment of lymphocytes. 

The EBV positivity of the infiltrating lymphocytes could be only the presentation of a carrier state, but in cases with EBER+/ LMP1+ lymphocytes (transforming latent infection) it could represent a negative prognostic marker pointing to a higher risk of primary thyroid lymphoma development. (Endokrynol Pol 2015; 66 (2): 132-136).

Full article here-

PHOTO: Sick by Claus Rebler


Written by Russell Logan


Russell Logan worked as a magazine publisher and editor until forced into early retirement through ill health with ME. He has battled with moderate to severe ME for 25 years. He now lives in Noosaville, Australia.

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