• disease intractability;
  • IL-1β;
  • single nucleotide polymorphism;
  • Th17


Interleukin (IL)-1β is a proinflammatory cytokine and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several autoimmune diseases. To evaluate the hypothesis that the functional −31C/T polymorphism (rs1143627) in the gene encoding IL-1β is associated with the intractability and the severity of autoimmune thyroid diseases, we genotyped this polymorphism in 64 patients with intractable Graves' disease (GD), 28 GD patients in remission, 49 patients with Hashimoto's disease (HD) who developed hypothyroidism (severe HD), 28 untreated euthyroid HD patients (mild HD) and 59 healthy volunteers. The −31T allele, which is related to the high producibility of IL-1β, was significantly more frequent in patients with intractable GD than in those with GD in remission (P = 0·0017; odds ratio 2·8; 95% confidence interval 1·5-5·3), although there was no difference in this frequency between two groups of HD patients. We showed additionally that the proportion of IL-17-producing T helper type 17 (Th17) cells, whose differentiation and proliferation are promoted by IL-1β, was higher in autoimmune thyroid disease patients with the T allele than in those with CC genotypes. In conclusion, our data indicated that the T allele of −31C/T polymorphism in the IL1B gene was involved in the intractability of GD, and this involvement may arise through the differentiation and proliferation of Th17 cells.