Screening for associated autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes mellitus with respect to diabetes control

M Prázný, J Skrha, Z Límanová, Z Vanícková, J Hilgertová, J Prázná, M Jaresová, I Stríz
Physiological Research 2005, 54 (1): 41-8
As an autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) can be associated with other autoimmune disorders. The aim of this study was to detect subclinically associated autoimmune thyroid disease, coeliac disease, and Addison's disease. The presence of autoantibodies was evaluated with special regard to the control of diabetes and to the clinical status of the patient. Fifty-one type 1 diabetic patients (22 men, 29 women, mean age 37+/-11 years, mean duration of diabetes 16+/-13 years) were included into this study. Specific antibodies to islet antigens--glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65), protein thyrosine phosphatase IA-2alpha, and to thyroid autoantigens--thyroid microsomal peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (TG) and also thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) were measured by RIA. Autoantigens of the small intestine--tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies (ATTG), IgA and IgG antibodies to gliadin (AGA-IgA, AGA-IgG) were evaluated by ELISA. Endomysial autoantibodies (EMA) and adrenal cortex antibodies (ACA) were detected by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy. Eleven new cases of thyreopathy (22 % of patients) were detected by the assessment of thyroid autoantibodies and TSH. Two new cases of thyreotoxicosis were diagnosed during the study. Coeliac disease was diagnosed in at least two cases. Addison's disease was not diagnosed, although the ACA were positive in two patients. No influence of single or combined autoantibody positivity on the control of diabetes was found if normal organ function was preserved. In both patients with thyreotoxicosis the control of diabetes was worsened and improved after treatment. The screening of autoantibodies in type 1 diabetic patients could reveal subclinical cases of AITD or coeliac disease. Subclinical forms of these disorders have no influence on diabetes control. However, impaired organ function may be associated with the worsened control of diabetes as we demonstrated on two newly diagnosed cases of thyreotoxicosis. We suggest the need for the follow-up of patients with positive autoantibodies because further deterioration of the respective organs can be expected.

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