The effect of age on ICA and thyrogastric antibodies at diagnosis of IDDM was evaluated in 633 consecutively diagnosed Swedish diabetic patients aged 15–34 yr and in 282 volunteers of the same age. ICAs were present in 61% (383 of 633) of the patients and in 2% (5 of 282) of control subjects. When the initial classification was considered, ICAs were detected in 69% (327 of 473) of patients with IDDM, 23% (19 of 83) of those with NIDDM, 50% (36 of 72) of those with unclassifiable diabetes, and 20% (1 of 5) of those with secondary diabetes. The frequency of ICA fell significantly (P < 0.001) with age in IDDM patients from 77% (104/135) in those 15–19 yr old to 52% (50 of 96) in 30- to 34-yr-old IDDM patients. The low frequency of ICA in 30- to 34-yr-old IDDM patients was confined to men (42%, 28 of 66). The frequency of gastric (H+, K+-ATPase) antibodies was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in IDDM patients (10%, 47 of 449) than in patients with NIDDM (3%, 3 of 80) and unclassifiable diabetes (4%, 3 of 72). In conclusion, the frequency of ICA at the diagnosis of IDDM in young adult subjects decreases with increasing age, particularly in men. The frequent finding of ICA in patients considered to have NIDDM or unclassifiable diabetes indicates that misclassification of diabetes is frequent in young adult patients recently diagnosed with diabetes.

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