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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Dec;1150:93-8. doi: 10.1196/annals.1447.013.

STAT4 polymorphism is associated with early-onset type 1 diabetes, but not with late-onset type 1 diabetes.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Bioengineering, Hanyang University College of Medicine and Engineering, Seoul, Korea.


In an effort to discover non-HLA genes affecting susceptibility to type 1 diabetes (T1D), we have investigated the association of polymorphisms in STAT4, an important signaling molecule of IL-12, gammaIFN, and IL-23, in a sample of 389 T1D patients and 152 nondiabetic controls in Korea. Four SNPs on chromosome 2q, which were recently found to be associated with rheumatoid arthritis, were examined for association and linkage disequilibrium. We found that neither alleles or genotypes among all four SNPs nor reconstructed haplotypes of the three SNPs within the same LD block (rs7574865, rs8179673, and rs10181656) were associated with susceptibility to T1D. When we stratified T1D patients into early-onset and late-onset subgroups on the basis of fewer or more than 7.8 years of age at diagnosis, however, the minor alleles of three SNPs (rs7574865, rs8179673, and rs10181656) showed a significant association with susceptibility to T1D in the early-onset subgroup (i.e., rs7574865, OR = 1.44 [1.03-2.01], P < 0.05), but not in the late-onset subgroup, suggesting that STAT4 is related to earlier development of T1D. The analysis of genotypes and haplotypes of the same SNPs (rs7574865, rs8179673, and rs10181656) showed very comparable degrees of risk for T1D. The age at diagnosis is lowest in the patients carrying the homozygotes of a minor allele, middle in the heterozygotes, and highest in the homozygotes of a major allele, suggesting the dosage effects of risk alleles on the age of onset of disease. Recognizing that only the early-onset cases might represent the true autoimmune T1D in Asian populations, we see that STAT4 alleles and haplotype might influence cytokine signaling and, therefore, development of T1D.

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