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Karen Grimes

Hot and Bothered: A Case of Endocrine Disease

This interrupted case study is a story about Carrie and her infant daughter Hayden who share similar symptoms: weight loss, metabolic abnormalities, and endocrine glands that just won't quit - as well as autoimmune complications. Students will eventually determine that Graves disease is the underlying condition; however, the point of the story is less about the diagnosis and more about understanding the complex interplay of receptor, ligand, and feedback loops as well as how this interplay is complicated by receptor-based autoimmunity. Students interpret some simplified lab results and tie them to their physiological consequences. They also gain a deeper understanding of how maternally produced antibodies can cause problems for a child before and/or after birth. Although designed for an upper division immunology class, this case also could be used in a human physiology or pathophysiology classroom.