Prevalence of coeliac disease in siblings of patients with Type I diabetes is related to the prevalence of DQB1*02 allele

Diabetologia. 2001 Aug;44(8):1051-3. doi: 10.1007/s001250100591.


Aims/hypothesis: Coeliac disease is more prevalent among patients with Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus and coeliac disease-related antibodies have been reported to increase in frequency in their first-degree relatives. Our aim was to find out if coeliac disease is more common among siblings of children with Type I diabetes than in the normal population.

Methods: IgA endomysium antibodies were measured by indirect immunofluorescence in 550 subjects (mean age 11.8 years, range 3.1-26.9 years) with a sibling with Type I diabetes. We performed jejunal biopsy on as many subjects with positive antibodies as agreed. HLA-DQB1 genotyping was done in 427 subjects.

Results: Endomysium antibodies were positive in nine subjects (1.6 %). Jejunal biopsy was diagnostic for coeliac disease in five out of seven patients. An additional patient with coeliac disease, one already on a gluten-free diet, was identified by questionnaire. The prevalence of coeliac disease was 1.1 %. Five of six patients with coeliac disease had HLA-DQB1*02 allele, compared with 118 of 421 of those without coeliac disease (p = 0.009). The sixth patient was positive for HLA-DQB1*0302 allele, which was also found in 241 of 421 of those without coeliac disease (p = 0.4).

Conclusion/interpretation: We found the prevalence of coeliac disease among siblings of children with Type I diabetes to be similar to figures reported from recent population-based studies and to be correlated with the prevalence of coeliac disease associated HLA-DQB1 alleles. We propose that routine screening for coeliac disease among all first-degree relatives of patients with Type I diabetes is not warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Biopsy
  • Celiac Disease / complications
  • Celiac Disease / epidemiology*
  • Celiac Disease / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / genetics*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Genotype
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / blood
  • Jejunum / pathology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / immunology
  • Nuclear Family


  • Autoantibodies
  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DQB1 antigen
  • Immunoglobulin A