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Diabetes Care. 2001 Mar;24(3):504-9.

The high prevalence of autoantibodies to tissue transglutaminase in first-degree relatives of patients with type 1 diabetes is not associated with islet autoimmunity.

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Diabetes and Metabolism Division of Medicine, University of Bristol, UK.



To determine the extent of celiac autoimmunity in type 1 diabetic patients and the overlap between islet and celiac autoimmunity in their nondiabetic relatives.


IgA antibodies to tissue transglutaminase were determined in serum taken from 433 type 1 diabetic patients and 1,442 nondiabetic first-degree relatives. Samples with transglutaminase antibodies above the 97.5th percentile of 347 schoolchildren were also assayed for IgA anti-endomysial antibodies (EMAs). Markers of islet autoimmunity (islet cell antibodies and autoantibodies to insulin, glutamate decarboxylase. and protein tyrosine phosphatase IA-2) had previously been measured in all relatives.


In the absence of known celiac disease, the prevalence of transglutaminase antibody levels above the 97.5th percentile of the schoolchildren was 13.4% in diabetic patients and 7.0% in nondiabetic relatives. ENMAs were found in addition to transglutaminase antibodies in 2.6% of probands and in 1.9% of first-degree relatives, but none of the schoolchildren. Transglutaminase antibodies were found to persist in 10 of 30 patients and in 30 of 59 relatives with follow-up samples taken at least 2 years after the initial sample. Of 186 nondiabetic relatives with islet autoantibodies, only 10 also had transglutaminase antibodies.


We found a high prevalence of celiac autoimmunity in patients and first-degree relatives of children with type 1 diabetes, but we found limited overlap between islet and celiac autoimmunity in nondiabetic relatives. The high prevalence of celiac autoimmunity may be explained by shared genetic susceptibility and identifies a population within which screening for the disease may be justified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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