The most common coexisting organ-specific autoimmune disease in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). However, there have been few clinical reports based on a large population about the prevalence of zinc transporter 8 autoantibody (ZnT8A) and other islet autoantibodies in AITD patients. We aimed to explore the presence of islet autoantibodies, ZnT8A, glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies (GADA) and insulinoma-associated antigen 2 autoantibodies (IA-2A) compared with thyroid autoantibodies, thyroid peroxidase autoantibodies (TPOAb) and thyroglobulin autoantibodies (TGAb) and thyrotropin receptor autoantibodies (TRAb) in patients with Graves’ disease (GD), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) and T1DM patients with AITD.
Totally, 389 patients with GD, 334 patients with HT, 108 T1DM patients with AITD and 115 healthy controls (HC) were recruited in the study. Islet autoantibodies (ZnT8A, GADA and IA-2A) were detected by radioligand binding assay. Thyroid autoantibodies, TPOAb and TGAb were detected by chemiluminescence assay, and TRAb was detected by RIA.
The prevalence of ZnT8A, GADA and IA-2A was higher in GD and HT patients than that of HC (ZnT8A: GD 8.48%, HT 10.8% vs HC 1.74%; GADA: GD 7.46%, HT 7.74% vs HC 0.870%; IA-2A: GD 4.88%, HT 3.59% vs HC 0%; All P < 0.05) but lower than that of T1DM subjects with AITD (ZnT8A: 42.6%; IA-2A: 44.4%; GADA: 74.1%; all P < 0.0001).
An increased prevalence of ZnT8A as well as GADA and IA-2A was found in both GD and HT patients, indicating that there is a potential link between thyroid autoimmunity and islet autoimmunity.