AIMS: To compare the prevalence of thyroid peroxidase antibodies in 25 children with autoimmune thyroid disorders and in 41 children and young adults with type 1 diabetes, and to test the prevalence of thyrotropin receptor antibodies. METHODS: Two commercially available radioimmunoassays for antibodies to thyroid peroxidase, a commercially available agglutination test of particles coated with thyroid microsomal antigens, and a radioimmunoassay for thyrotropin receptor antibodies were used. Patients and controls were studied. RESULTS: One of the radioimmunoassays detected thyroid peroxidase antibodies not only in all children with autoimmune thyroid disorders and children and young adults with type 1 diabetes and thyroid microsomal antibodies, but also in 20% of healthy control children without microsomal antibodies. With this thyroid peroxidase assay and with microsomal agglutination, 94% of the children with autoimmune thyroiditis, 71% of those with Graves' disease, and over 90% of those with type 1 diabetes and thyroid dysfunction tested positive. In the other radioimmunoassay for thyroid peroxidase antibodies thyroid peroxidase antibody titres in half or more of the children with microsomal antibodies failed to reach the level of positivity given by the producers. Eighty five percent of children with Graves' disease and 71% of those with autoimmune thyroiditis had thyrotropin receptor antibodies but so did 35% of children studied for other endocrinological disorders such as delayed growth or puberty. CONCLUSIONS: Testing patients with well characterised disorders of thyroid function and with other endocrine disorders is important in evaluating the efficacy of new diagnostic tests for thyroid autoantibodies.
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