IDDM and autoimmune thyroid disease in the pediatric age group

Renata Lorini, Giuseppe D'Annunzio, Letizia Vitali, Andrea Scaramuzza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diabetic patients have increased chances of developing autoimmune thyroid disease. Thyroid autoantibodies (Th-AAb) are more frequent in IDDM children than in the general population, ranging between 7 and 40%. As markers of thyroid autoimmunity, we assessed Th-AAb (MsA and TgA) cross-sectionally in 212 children and adolescents (93 girls and 119 boys) aged 1.2-21 years with IDDM from 0-18 years, and longitudinally in 90/212 (43 girls and 47 boys) at diagnosis and during a 3-10 year follow-up. In the cross-sectional study Th-AAb were found in 22/93 girls (23.7%) and 13/119 boys (10.9%). In the longitudinal study Th-AAb were observed at diagnosis in 6 patients, and during the follow-up in 9 girls. In 11/15 Th-AAb positive patients anti-nuclear antibodies were also present. Hormonal assessment revealed hypothyroidism in 3 girls (afterwards on replacement therapy), thyroid ultrasonography showed abnormal patterns in 5 girls, fine needle aspiration biopsy confirmed Hashimoto's thyroiditis in 9 (8 girls and 1 boy), with a higher frequency than that reported among healthy subjects (1-2%). Thyrotoxicosis also occurs with increased frequency in diabetic children than in the general population. We observed Graves' disease in only 1/212 IDDM patients, a 13 year-old boy in whom thyrotoxicosis developed 4 years after diabetes was diagnosed. The high prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity in our patients, particularly in females, suggests that diabetic children and adolescents should be screened for thyroid autoimmunity even if asymptomatic for hypo- or hyperthyroidism. Patients with IDDM and autoimmune thyroid disease should be evaluated for autoantibodies against other organs, such as adrenal glands and gastric mucosa. It is known that patients affected by type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus (IDDM) may have autoantibodies against different organs, such as thyroid, adrenal glands, gastric mucosa, parathyroid, with or without evident dysfunction of the target organ /1-8/. Among organ-specific disorders, autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD) is frequently associated with IDDM and the presence of thyroid autoantibodies (Th-AAb) has been considered a risk factor for the development of hypo- or hyperthyroidism /9/.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-94
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Anti-thyroid antibodies
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Graves' disease
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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