Reference interval by the indirect approach of serum thyrotropin (TSH) in a Mediterranean adult population and the association with age and gender

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Abstract

Background The serum concentration of thyrotropin (TSH) represents a first-line test in diagnostic algorithms. The estimation of TSH reference intervals (RIs) is still a matter of debate due to the high prevalence of subclinical disease making difficult the definition of truly healthy subjects. The aim of this study was to estimate TSH RIs in healthy subjects and to evaluate the effect of age and gender on TSH concentration. Methods Forty-four thousand one hundred and fifty-six TSH data were collected between July 2012 and April 2018 at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, University-Hospital, Palermo. Common and sex-specific RIs were estimated by Arzideh's indirect method after exclusion of individuals younger than 15 years, subjects with repeated TSH tests and with abnormal free thyroxine (fT4), free triiodothyronine (fT3) or anti-thyroid-peroxidase antibodies. The combined effect of age and gender on TSH values was evaluated. Results RIs estimated in the selected individuals (n = 22602) were, respectively, 0.18-3.54 mIU/L (general), 0.19-3.23 mIU/L (men) and 0.18-3.94 mIU/L (women). Women showed significantly higher median TSH than men (1.46 vs. 1.39 mIU/L; p < 0.0001). Both in men and in women, median TSH decreased along with age; however, although up to 60 years in both men and women showed similar values, afterwards women showed constantly higher TSH than men. Accordingly, statistical analysis showed a significant interaction between gender and age (p = 0.001), suggesting that the effect of age on TSH is different between genders. Conclusions Our findings suggest that the indirect method, with appropriate cleaning of data, could be useful to define TSH RIs.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1587-1594
Numero di pagine8
RivistaClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Volume57
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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