Anti-pancreatic autoimmunity and Graves' disease: study of a cohort of 600 Caucasian patients

in European Journal of Endocrinology
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The aim of this study was to investigate the frequencies of clinical diabetes and humoral markers of anti-pancreatic autoimmunity in a homogeneous population of 600 Caucasian patients with recently diagnosed Graves' disease (GD), in order to characterize the specific features of this group of endocrine patients among subjects at risk of diabetes. Ten were already diabetic at GD diagnosis. Among the 590 non-diabetic patients, 29 had islet cell antibodies (ICA), including 15 with low titre ICA and only 1 ICA-positive subject with a familial history of diabetes. Twenty-four patients had insulin autoantibodies, including three in association with ICA. Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)/64 kDa antibodies were found in 16 of the 150 tested sera, including 13 of the 29 ICA-positive sera. Four ICA-positive patients displayed 37/40 kDa antibodies, including three in association with GAD/64 kDa antibodies. During follow-up, one of the ICA-positive patients developed insulin-dependent diabetes, 14 years after the GD diagnosis. To summarize, this anti-pancreatic autoimmunity study was focused on a large but specific and homogeneous group of subjects at risk for diabetes: recently diagnosed GD patients. This population was characterized by a high prevalence of GAD/64 kDa antibodies but also by a low frequency of evolution towards diabetes and the slowness of the process which could be due to the fact that only a minority of subjects possessed a sufficient combination of anti-pancreatic markers at the same time.

 

     European Society of Endocrinology

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