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Diabetes Care. 2019 Nov 8. pii: dc190747. doi: 10.2337/dc19-0747. [Epub ahead of print]

Absence of Islet Autoantibodies and Modestly Raised Glucose Values at Diabetes Diagnosis Should Lead to Testing for MODY: Lessons From a 5-Year Pediatric Swedish National Cohort Study.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University/Clinical Research Centre, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden.
Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, U.K.
Molecular Genetics, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter, U.K.
The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Clinical Chemistry, University and Regional Laboratories Region Skåne, Malmö, Sweden.
Crown Princess Victoria's Children's and Youth Hospital, University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden.
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
Pediatric Endocrinology Unit, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Finnish Institute for Molecular Medicine, Helsinki University, Helsinki, Finland.
Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical Science Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, U.K.



Identifying maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) in pediatric populations close to diabetes diagnosis is difficult. Misdiagnosis and unnecessary insulin treatment are common. We aimed to identify the discriminatory clinical features at diabetes diagnosis of patients with glucokinase (GCK), hepatocyte nuclear factor-1A (HNF1A), and HNF4A MODY in the pediatric population.


Swedish patients (n = 3,933) aged 1-18 years, diagnosed with diabetes May 2005 to December 2010 were recruited from the national consecutive prospective cohort Better Diabetes Diagnosis. Clinical data, islet autoantibodies (GAD antibody, insulinoma antigen-2A, zinc transporter 8A, and IAA), HLA type, and C-peptide were collected at diagnosis. MODY was identified by sequencing GCK, HNF1A, and HNF4A, either through routine clinical or research testing.


The minimal prevalence of MODY was 1.2%. Discriminatory factors for MODY at diagnosis included four islet autoantibody negativity (100 vs. 11% not-known MODY; P = 2 × 10-44), HbA1c (7.0 vs. 10.7% [53 vs. 93 mmol/mol]; P = 1 × 10-20), plasma glucose (11.7 vs. 26.7 mmol/L; P = 3 × 10-19), parental diabetes (63 vs. 12%; P = 1 × 10-15), and diabetic ketoacidosis (0 vs. 15%; P = 0.001). Testing 303 autoantibody-negative patients identified 46 patients with MODY (detection rate 15%). Limiting testing to the 73 islet autoantibody-negative patients with HbA1c <7.5% (58 mmol/mol) at diagnosis identified 36 out of 46 (78%) patients with MODY (detection rate 49%). On follow-up, the 46 patients with MODY had excellent glycemic control, with an HbA1c of 6.4% (47 mmol/mol), with 42 out of 46 (91%) patients not on insulin treatment.


At diagnosis of pediatric diabetes, absence of all islet autoantibodies and modest hyperglycemia (HbA1c <7.5% [58 mmol/mol]) should result in testing for GCK, HNF1A, and HNF4A MODY. Testing all 12% patients negative for four islet autoantibodies is an effective strategy for not missing MODY but will result in a lower detection rate. Identifying MODY results in excellent long-term glycemic control without insulin.


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