There is evidence that insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) may develop in association with other non-beta-cell-specific autoimmune diseases. We aimed to assess whether autoantibodies to the islet cell antigens glutamic acid decarboxylase (Mr 65,000 isoform) (GAD65) and ICA512(IA-2), present alone or in combination, are limited to IDDM or also occur in other organ- or non-organ-specific autoimmune disorders. We determined the frequency of these autoantibodies by radioimmunoassay in 199 sera from patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), and compared the results with those from 507 newly diagnosed patients with IDDM and 280 healthy controls. ICA512(IA-2) autoantibodies were detected exclusively in AITD with concurrent IDDM, but not in other autoimmune diseases without IDDM, whereas GAD65 autoantibodies exceeded the limit of normal in 67.7% (21 of 31) of patients with AITD who also had IDDM and in 5.5% (three of 55) of patients with PBC. The frequency of either GAD65 and/or ICA512(IA-2) autoantibodies was significantly higher in patients with AITD who also had IDDM (27 of 31, 87.1%) than in those with AITD alone (one of 53, 1.9%; P<10(-6)), but was not significantly different from those patients with newly diagnosed IDDM (418 of 507, 82.4%). Neither patients with organ- or non-organ-specific autoimmune diseases without IDDM nor healthy controls had autoantibodies against both GAD65 and ICA512(IA-2). Despite the fact that one of the two autoantibodies was occasionally detected in patients with non-beta-cell-specific autoimmune diseases without IDDM, combined determination of GAD65 and ICA512(IA-2) autoantibodies specifically identified IDDM in the majority of patients with AITD. In conclusion, because of the strong association of IDDM with AITD, testing for multiple islet autoanti-bodies could be useful as a predictive marker for risk of progression to IDDM onset amongst patients with autoimmune thyroid disorders.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press Limited.