Studies on the TSH receptor (TSHR) have numerous practical applications in vitro and in vivo. For example human monoclonal autoantibodies (MAbs) to the TSHR are useful reagents for in vitro diagnostics. Measurement of TSHR autoantibodies (TRAbs) is helpful in diagnosis and management of autoimmune thyroid disease. Currently available highly sensitive and specific assays to measure TRAbs use the human TSHR MAb M22 instead of the TSH. Furthermore, preparations of the human TSHR MAb M22 are useful as the World Health Organisation International Standard for thyroid stimulating antibody and for calibration of the assays for measuring TRAbs. Preparations of thermostabilised TSHR extracellular domain have recently become available and this is likely to have an impact on improvements in specificity testing for TRAb assays. In addition the stable TSHR preparations have practical application for specific immunoadsorption of patient serum TRAbs. Human TSHR MAbs also have promising prospects as new therapeutics. Autoantibodies with TSHR antagonistic activities are “natural” inhibitors of TSHR stimulation and are expected to be helpful in controlling TSHR activity in patients with Graves’ disease, Graves’ ophthalmopathy and thyroid cancer.

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PubMed