Organ-specific autoantibodies in children with common endocrine diseases

J Pediatr. 1982 Jan;100(1):8-14. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(82)80227-8.


Sera from 438 children were examined for autoantibodies to thyroid microsomes, thyroglobulin, pancreatic islet cells, gastric parietal cells, and adrenocortical cells by indirect hemagglutination and immunofluorescence techniques. A modification of the indirect hemagglutination technique allowed specific detection of low titers of antithyroidal antibodies. The subjects included a control group (117) with no known autoimmune disease, and children with disorders of the thyroid (88), insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (201), Turner's Syndrome (24), and Addison disease (8). A subject's age at the time of disease onset and the race and sex were correlated with the prevalence of autoantibodies. The coincidence of autoantibodies to components of the thyroid with autoantibodies to gastric parietal cells was increased in children with disorders of the thyroid (94%, 18/19) over that observed in diabetes (29%, 4/14), Turner syndrome (0%), or Addison disease (0%), perhaps indicating different genetic propensities for the development of parietal cell antibodies in these groups. Islet cell antibodies were not found in subjects with Turner syndrome, nor were they more prevalent in white or black subjects with diabetes. The incidence of organ-specific autoantibodies in individuals without overt clinical disease may reflect an altered immunologic state that will lead eventually to autoimmune disease. Islet cell antibodies decline in prevalence in diabetes, whereas thyroid antibodies in disorders of the thyroid do not; this may reflect differences in the pathogenesis of these common autoimmune endocrine disorders in children.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Addison Disease / immunology
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Glands / immunology
  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Endocrine System Diseases / immunology*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gastric Mucosa / immunology
  • Hemagglutination Tests
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Islets of Langerhans / immunology
  • Male
  • Organ Specificity*
  • Thyroid Diseases / immunology
  • Thyroid Gland / immunology
  • Turner Syndrome / immunology


  • Autoantibodies