Risk of Islet and Celiac Autoimmunity in Cotwins of Probands With Type 1 Diabetes

J Endocr Soc. 2020 May 15;4(6):bvaa053. doi: 10.1210/jendso/bvaa053. eCollection 2020 Jun 1.


Context: Concordance for persistent islet autoimmunity (IA) and type 1 diabetes in monozygotic twins after probands are diagnosed is variable (30%-70%). Risk for development of IA in dizygotic twins is thought to be similar to nontwin siblings. Little is known in regard to the development of celiac autoimmunity (CDA) in twins of subjects with type 1 diabetes.

Objective: Our aim was to investigate the development of IA and CDA in cotwins of probands with type 1 diabetes.

Methods: Since 1995, the Twin Family Study has followed 336 twins (168 twin probands with type 1 diabetes and 168 cotwins) for a median of 14 years (interquartile range:10-18 years). Cotwins were followed for the development of IA, type 1 diabetes, and CDA.

Results: In monozygotic cotwins, cumulative incidence by age 20 was 14% for IA and 10% for CDA. Development of IA and CDA by age 20 was 9% and 12% in dizygotic cotwins, respectively. While the numbers are small, IA by age 30 years was 26% in monozygotic and 39% in dizygotic twins. In proportional hazards models, the proband's younger age at diagnosis, but not sex or human leukocyte antigen were associated with time to IA and CDA in cotwins.

Conclusion: CDA risk by age 20 in cotwins was 10% to 12%. With long-term follow-up, cumulative incidence for IA is high in dizygotic twins, similar to monozygotic twins, suggesting a role of possible early environmental factors shared by type 1 diabetes discordant cotwins.

Keywords: celiac autoimmunity; epidemiology; islet autoimmunity; twins; type 1 diabetes.