OBJECTIVE—Permanent neonatal diabetes (PND) is defined by chronic hyperglycemia due to severe nonautoimmune insulin deficiency diagnosed in the first months of life. Several genes, including KCNJ11 and ABCC8, which encode the two subunits of the ATP-sensitive K+ channel (KATP channel) can cause PND. Mutations in the insulin (INS) gene have been recently described in families with neonatal diabetes. Our study aimed to investigate the genetic anomalies and clinical heterogeneity in PND patients who are negative for a KATP channel mutation.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—We screened the INS gene by direct sequencing in 38 PND patients and in one child with nonautoimmune early-infancy diabetes, where no mutation in GCK, KCNJ11, and ABCC8 was identified. A detailed clinical phenotyping of the patients was carried out to specify the diabetes features in those found with an INS mutation.
RESULTS—We identified three missense mutations in the INS gene in four probands. Two of four mutations were inherited in a dominant manner, and the familial description evidenced a marked variability in age of diagnosis and disease progression. In our cohort, the INS mutations may represent ∼10% of all permanent neonatal diabetes cases, having a later presentation of diabetes and no associated symptoms compared with cases with KATP channel mutations.
CONCLUSIONS—Heterozygous INS gene mutations can cause isolated permanent early-infancy diabetes and should be assessed in neonatal as well as in childhood diabetes appearing like type 1, when autoimmune markers are absent. New pharmacogenomic strategies may be applicable, since residual β-cell function is still present in some patients.
- ISPAD, International Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes
- KATP channel, ATP-sensitive K+ channel
- PND, permanent neonatal diabetes
- TND, transient neonatal diabetes
- Received September 24, 2007.
- Accepted December 22, 2007.