High Familial Risk and Genetic Susceptibility in Early Onset Childhood Diabetes
Early onset type 1 diabetes is associated with rapid β-cell failure and high levels of HLA-mediated genetic susceptibility. We examined familial risk of disease in relation to age at onset in 1,299 families participating in the Bart’s Oxford population-based family study of type 1 diabetes. Risk of diabetes was estimated by survival analysis in 1,430 siblings and 2,419 parents and related to age at onset in the proband. Unaffected relatives at high risk were identified by measurement of islet autoantibodies, and HLA class II genotyping was performed in probands where DNA was available (573 children). The cumulative risk of diabetes by age 20 years was 11.7% in siblings of probands diagnosed before age 5 years, compared with 3.6% for ages 5–9 years and 2.3% for ages 10–14 years (P < 0.0001). In parents, the cumulative risk by age 40 years was 5.9% if the proband was diagnosed before age 5 years, compared with 3.7% for ages 5–9 years and 3.7% for ages 10–14 years (P = 0.04). Of 1,169 unaffected siblings tested at study entry, 7.3% had two or more autoantibody markers if the proband was diagnosed before age 5 years, compared with 2.2 and 2.4%, respectively, for ages 5–9 and 10–14 years (P = 0.002). The frequency of the highest risk genotype decreased with increasing age at onset. Of children diagnosed before age 5 years, 52% were heterozygous for HLA DRB1*03-DQA1*0501-DQB1*02/DRB1*04-DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 compared with 32% and 33%, respectively, for children diagnosed at ages 5–9 and 10–14 years (P < 0.001). Diabetes with onset before age 5 years is therefore a marker of high familial risk.
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Received for publication 19 April 2001 and accepted in revised form 11 October 2001.
IAA, insulin autoantibody; ICA, islet cell antibody; IDS, Immunology of Diabetes Society; JDF, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation; PCR, polymerase chain reaction.