This study seems to indicate an association between the presence of a lifetime diagnosis of mood or anxiety disorder and Hashimoto disease without functional thyroid impairment. No difference was observed in mood and anxiety disorders between goitre cases and controls.
These findings are congruent with the results of a previous study  that indicated a risk for Depressive episode in subjects with antiTPO+ in a general population sample without selection by medical or psychiatric health facilities, and are consistent with several previous clinical studies providing evidence of a significant association of mood disorders or post-partum depression and symptomless autoimmune thyroiditis with or without sub-clinical hypothyroidism .
The above-cited community survey found that subjects with at least one lifetime diagnosis of anxiety disorders presented anti-TPO+ more frequently than subjects without mood or anxiety disorders. However, no specific anxiety diagnosis was found to be associated with anti-TPO+, although General Anxiety Disorder showed a strong trend toward association (P < 0.058). Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified was more frequently observed with anti-TPO+, but this is only a sub-threshold condition. A previous research carried out on celiac patients indicated thyroid autoimmunity as possible risk factor for panic disorder . In the present study, the latter diagnosis was shown to be more frequent between Hashimoto disease and controls, although statistical significance was not reached.
Indeed, these 3 surveys seem to indicate a congruent trend of possible risk for anxiety disorders such Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia and Panic Disorder in Hashimoto Disease.
To our knowledge, the data concerning the association between sleep disorders and Hashimoto disease is the first such evidence published in literature, although it may be consistent with a dysregulation of sleep architecture in subjects with sub-clinical thyroid impairment .
A sub-clinical dysfunction of axis thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) with consequent alteration of circadian rhythms of TSH has been hypothesized in several depressive disorders. Indeed, this hypothesis may explain why some forms of mood disorders were associated with anti-TPO+ without hypothyroidism, as defined by blood routine tests. A slight reduction in thyroid hormone secretion such as that found in sub-clinical hypothyroidism may affect cognition and mood . At variance with other tissues which mainly rely on peripherally generated triiodothyronine, the brain utilizes preferentially circulating thyroxine directly secreted by the thyroid gland and may become hypothyroid before other organs .
Alternatively, autoimmunity may be implicated in some form of extra-thyroid disease associated (even indirectly) with the depressive symptomatology.
In Hashimoto disease the onset of vasculitis is frequently observed and would seem to be directly correlated to the duration of the illness .
In this disease brain perfusion modifications would appear to be of an aspecific nature; recently however, Spect examination revealed a marked compromising of the left cingulum posterioris, thus related in the etiology of associated affective disorders .
Recent evidence suggests that thyroid autoimmunity may be affected by the Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) through the balance of proinflammatory and antiinflammatory cytokines [15, 16]. In line with this view, the increased frequency of post-partum depression, associated to the fact that pregnancy would seem to be a "protected" period, could explain at least in part the consequences on thyroid autoimmunity elicited by HPA-related modifications to the immunitary axis. Indeed, similar phenomena are observed in both rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis and therefore Hashimoto vasculitis may also be involved .
The potential of this study is limited by the small sample size, particularly regard to psychiatric diagnoses less frequently observed in the general population, such as Panic Disorder; the extension of the findings is therefore rather limited.