Objectives: Parietal cell antibodies (PCA) are markers of autoimmune gastritis (AG). AG can lead to hypergastrinemia and iron-deficiency anaemia (IDA). Compared to healthy controls, adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) show a higher prevalence of PCA (1% vs 20%). The aim of the present study was to evaluate the frequency of PCA in children and adolescents with T1DM compared to healthy controls and the clinical and biochemical markers.
Patients and Methods: We studied 170 patients (87 boys) with T1DM (mean age 12.9 years) and 101 healthy controls (49 boys; mean age 13.0 years). PCA, free T4, free T3, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and thyroid antibodies were measured in all of the patients. In addition, gastrin, pepsinogen I, iron, ferritin, vitamin B12, and folate were measured in patients with T1DM only. Gastroscopy was carried out in patients with T1DM having high (>100 U/mL) PCA levels.
Results: The frequency of PCA in patients with T1DM was 5.29% compared to 1.98% in healthy controls (not significant). PCA was strongly correlated to both thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) and gastrin levels (P = 0.001). IDA was present in 4 of 9 patients from the PCA-positive group compared to 4 of 160 patients from the PCA-negative group. Hypergastrinemia was found in 2 PCA-positive patients. Histopathologically, 1 of 4 patients showed early symptoms of AG.
Conclusions: Children and adolescents with T1DM have a lower frequency of PCA than is reported for adults. Compared to healthy controls, they seem to be at increased risk for developing PCA, in particular if positive for TPOAb, but overt clinical disease is rare in children with T1DM.