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July 8, 2010

Other Illnesses, Research: Other Research

Question from New Jersey, USA:

My son was diagnosed with type 1 at age 17 and my daughter was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at age 12. I vaguely recall reading somewhere that scientists have discovered that the same gene is responsible for diabetes and for Crohn's disease. Can both of these diseases be linked to the same gene? What is the connection, except that they are both autoimmune diseases? Is there a chance that my daughter with Crohn's can also get diabetes and that my son with diabetes can also develop Crohn's? I think one disease per person at such a young age is enough. This is scaring me. Are you familiar with this genome study?

Answer:

Both are autoimmune disorders but with slightly different genetic predisposition profiles although related to the HLA systems. It is rather rare for both to co-exist in the same patient. In my patient population of about 500 youngsters with type 1 diabetes, only one has both type 1 and Crohn’s. Other autoimmunopathies are more commonly co-existing in the USA: type 1 with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, about 20 to 40%; type 1 with hypothyroidism, about 10 to 20%; type 1 with celiac disease, about 5 to 10%, type 1 and Addison’s disease, about 0,5 to 1%. All these also share common HLA haplotypes on the short arm of the sixth chromosome.

SB