Currently, it is impossible to predict thyroid eye disease (TED) in patients with systemic autoimmune thyroid disease. Evidence, however, supports the involvement of the lacrimal gland in TED. Knowing this, a team of researchers set out to quantitatively correlate the changes in tear protein profile with progression of TED and found that the tear proteins known as S100A4 and PIP may serve as potential biomarkers to predict disease progression in AITD patients.

The study evaluated 72 patients and divided them into four groups: systemic thyroid disease without TED, with mild TED, with severe TED and healthy controls. The team found that S100A4 and PIP showed consistent dysregulation trends, demonstrating the differences in tear proteome across the spectrum of different severity and activity of TED in patients with autoimmune disease. “These tear proteins may serve as potential biomarkers to predict progression to severe TED” in already-affected thyroid disease patients, the authors wrote in their study.

Chng C, Seah LL, Yang M, et al. Tear proteins calcium binding protein A4 (S100A4) and prolactin induced protein (PIP) are potential biomarkers for thyroid eye disease. Sci Rep. 2018;8:16936.