Islet cell antibodies (ICAs) were assayed in 316 patients with autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD; 190 with Graves' disease, 126 with Hashimoto's thyroiditis), 53 patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), and 144 healthy control subjects. ICAs were measured by an immunohistochemical method with peroxidase-labeled protein A and human pancreatic tissues. The prevalence of ICAs in patients with AITD was 7.6% (24 of 316), whereas the prevalence in control subjects was 0.7% (1 of 144). Among 24 ICA+ patients, 20 (83%) had IDDM. In these 20 patients, the duration of diabetes from clinical onset was 5.4 ± 5.1 yr. ICAs in patients with IDDM alone were positive in 90.9% at 1 yr and 7.7% at 5 yr after the onset of diabetes. These data have shown that most ICA+ patients with AITD have IDDM and that the prevalence of ICAs in patients with AITD in Japanese is as high as that found among whites, whereas the incidence of IDDM in Japanese is approximately one-thirtieth or one-fiftieth of that in whites.

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