Context: Histopathological analysis has demonstrated lymphocytic infiltration in both the endocrine and the exocrine pancreas in some patients with type 1 diabetes and non-alcoholic chronic pancreatitis, suggesting an immune-mediated mechanism which affects both diabetes mellitus and chronic pancreatitis.
Objective: The examination of exocrine pancreatic humoral markers in Caucasian patients with respect to the interactions between exocrine and endocrine pancreatic diseases.
Patients: One hundred and thirty-six European Caucasian subjects subdivided into three groups: type 1 diabetes (n=48); non-alcoholic chronic pancreatitis (n=48); controls (n=40).
Main outcome measure: Autoantibodies against carbonic anhydrase II (CAIIAb) and lactoferrin (LACAb) (both of which are exocrine pancreatic antigens) were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: No positivity for CAIIAb and LACAb were found in the controls. Patients with type 1 diabetes had a significantly higher prevalence of CAIIAb (25.0%) than the controls while the prevalence of LACAb (8.3%) was not significantly higher than the controls. The prevalence of CAIIAb (12.5%) and LACAb (20.8%) in the patients with non-alcoholic chronic pancreatitis was significantly higher than that in the controls. A significantly higher prevalence of CAIIAb and/or LACAb was found in patients with type 1 diabetes (29.2%) and non-alcoholic chronic pancreatitis (22.9%) compared to that in the controls (0%). There was a significant association between CAIIAb and LACAb titers both in patients with type 1 diabetes (P=0.042) and in patients with non-alcoholic chronic pancreatitis (P<0.001).
Conclusion: We have clearly demonstrated that some European Caucasian patients with type 1 diabetes and non-alcoholic chronic pancreatitis have autoantibodies against the exocrine pancreatic antigens CAIIAb and LACAb.