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Diabetologia. 1991 May;34(5):350-5.

Shared genetic susceptibility of type 1 (insulin-dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus: contributions of HLA and haptoglobin.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.


Epidemiologic data suggest that having a parent with Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus increases the risk for Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes in siblings of a Type 1 diabetes proband. This increase in risk is consistent with a shared genetic susceptibility between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. We contrast genetic risk factors in three sets of families, consisting of (1) a single Type 1 diabetic child (proband) and non-diabetic parents, (2) multiple Type 1 diabetic siblings and non-diabetic parents, and (3) at least one Type 1 diabetic child and at least one Type 2 diabetic parent. Previous studies have demonstrated that HLA region genes, which elevate the risk in Type 1 diabetes, have no significant effect with respect to the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. An earlier report cited a contribution by the haptoglobin locus to genetic susceptibility for Type 2 diabetes. We provide evidence that a high risk HLA antigen (HLA-DR3) is decreased to a greater extent in Type 1 patients with a Type 2 parent than in Type 1 patients in which the parents are not diabetic. The role of HLA-DR4 is maintained in these families, with an unexpectedly significant increased rate of transmission of the HLA-DR4 allele from Type 2 parent to Type 1 offspring. The role of haptoglobin in these families does not appear to be important, either with respect to association with diabetes or with respect to linkage with a secondary susceptibility locus. These results indicate that families with a Type 2 parent and Type 1 child, heavily determined by HLA-DR4 linked factors, may represent a homogeneous subset of diabetes susceptibility.

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