Anti-thyroid antibodies were published first in this disease. Research of past fifty years provided evidence that the damage of thyrocytes was the result of a multistep process in which immunological, immunogenetic, epigenetic and environmental factors had been involved. It was clarified that the autoimmune thyroiditis was not identical with hypothyroidism since during this disease different functional stages were differentiated. Both the clinical picture and the immunological investigations have been proved to be important in the diagnosis. The author summarized the main principles for treatment and prevention of this disorder.
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