Objective: We prospectively determined islet autoantibody status in children presenting with diabetes to a single UK region in relation to ethnicity.
Design: 316 (68.0% non-white) children presenting with diabetes between 2006 and 2013 were tested centrally for islet cell autoantibodies (ICA) and glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies (GAD-65) at diagnosis, and if negative for both, tested for insulin autoantibodies (IAA). The assay used to measure GAD-65 autoantibodies changed from an in-house to a standardised ELISA method during the study.
Results: Even with use of the standardised ELISA method, 25.8% of children assigned a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes still tested negative for all three autoantibodies. 30% of children assigned a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes were autoantibody positive, and these had the highest glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels at 12 months follow-up compared with other groups (p value for analysis of variance <0.001), although the sample size was small. Autoantibody positivity was similar between non-white and white children regardless of assay used (60.0% (n=129) vs 56.4% (n=57), χ(2)=0.9, p=0.35), as was mean GAD-65 autoantibody levels, but fewer non-white children had two or more autoantibodies detectable (13% (n=28) vs 27.7% (n=28), χ(2)=12.1, p=0.001).
Conclusions: Islet autoantibody positivity was associated with a more severe phenotype, as demonstrated by poorer glycaemic control, regardless of assigned diabetes subtype. Positivity did not differ by ethnic group.
Keywords: Endocrinology; Race and Health.
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