Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a clinically heterogeneous disease. The presence of associated autoimmune diseases (AAID) may represent a distinct form of autoimmune diabetes, with involvement of specific mechanisms. The aim of this study was to find predictors of AAID in the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium (T1DGC) data set.
3263 families with at least 2 siblings with T1D were included. Clinical information was obtained using questionnaires, anti-GAD and anti-IA-2 were measured and HLA-genotyping was performed. Siblings with T1D with and without AAID were compared and a multivariate regression analysis was performed to find predictors of AAID. T1D-associated HLA haplotypes were defined as the 4 most susceptible and protective, respectively.
AAID was present in 14.4% of the T1D affected siblings. Age of diabetes onset, current age and time since diagnosis were higher, and there was a female predominance and more family history of AAID in the group with AAID, as well as more frequent anti-GAD and less frequent anti-IA2 positivity. Risk and protective HLA haplotype distributions were similar, though DRB1*0301-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201 was more frequent in the group with AAID. In the multivariate analysis, female gender, age of onset, family history of AAID, time since diagnosis and anti-GAD positivity were significantly associated with AAID.
In patients with T1D, the presence of AAID is associated with female predominance, more frequent family history of AAID, later onset of T1D and more anti-GAD antibodies, despite longer duration of the disease. The predominance of certain HLA haplotypes suggests that specific mechanisms of disease may be involved.