Aims/hypothesis: MODY can be wrongly diagnosed as type 1 diabetes in children. We aimed to find the prevalence of MODY in a nationwide population-based registry of childhood diabetes.
Methods: Using next-generation sequencing, we screened the HNF1A, HNF4A, HNF1B, GCK and INS genes in all 469 children (12.1%) negative for both GAD and IA-2 autoantibodies and 469 antibody-positive matched controls selected from the Norwegian Childhood Diabetes Registry (3882 children). Variants were classified using clinical diagnostic criteria for pathogenicity ranging from class 1 (neutral) to class 5 (pathogenic).
Results: We identified 58 rare exonic and splice variants in cases and controls. Among antibody-negative patients, 6.5% had genetic variants of classes 3-5 (vs 2.4% in controls; p = 0.002). For the stricter classification (classes 4 and 5), the corresponding number was 4.1% (vs 0.2% in controls; p = 1.6 × 10-5). HNF1A showed the strongest enrichment of class 3-5 variants, with 3.9% among antibody-negative patients (vs 0.4% in controls; p = 0.0002). Antibody-negative carriers of variants in class 3 had a similar phenotype to those carrying variants in classes 4 and 5.
Conclusions/interpretation: This is the first study screening for MODY in all antibody-negative children in a nationwide population-based registry. Our results suggest that the prevalence of MODY in antibody-negative childhood diabetes may reach 6.5%. One-third of these MODY cases had not been recognised by clinicians. Since a precise diagnosis is important for treatment and genetic counselling, molecular screening of all antibody-negative children should be considered in routine diagnostics.
Keywords: Antibody-negative; Childhood-onset diabetes; Genetic screening; MODY; Monogenic diabetes; Norwegian Childhood Diabetes Registry; Prevalence; Sulfonylurea.