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The basement membrane as an antigenic structure in autoimmune diseases has been a matter of controversy. The purpose of our study was to determine possible structural changes in the follicular basement membrane (FBM) in thyroid autoimmune and non-autoimmune diseases. Immunohistochemical staining for collagen IV and laminin showed that the continuity of the FBM was preserved in toxic adenoma (three cases), atoxic multinodular goiter (nine cases) as well as in autoimmune disease. Integrity of the FBM was observed in all 11 cases of Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (seven cases) studied. In some instances, the FBM was thinned in areas of contact with inflammatory infiltrate. We conclude that the auto-antibodies, and possibly other factors present in autoimmune thyroid diseases, do not significantly alter the integrity of the FBM.