Introduction: Major histocompatibility complex class II genes are considered major genetic risk factors for autoimmune diabetes. We analysed Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) DR and DQ haplotypes in a cohort with early-onset (age < 5 years), long term type 1 diabetes (T1D) and explored their influence on clinical and laboratory parameters.
Methods: Intermediate resolution HLA-DRB1, DQA1 and DQB1 typing was performed in 233 samples from the German Paediatric Diabetes Biobank and compared with a local control cohort of 19,544 cases. Clinical follow-up data of 195 patients (diabetes duration 14.2 ± 2.9 years) and residual C-peptide levels were compared between three HLA risk groups using multiple linear regression analysis.
Results: Genetic variability was low, 44.6% (104/233) of early-onset T1D patients carried the highest-risk genotype HLA-DRB1*03:01-DQA1*05:01-DQB1*02:01/DRB1*04-DQA1*03:01-DQB1*03:02 (HLA-DRB1*04 denoting 04:01/02/04/05), and 231 of 233 individuals carried at least one of six risk haplotypes. Comparing clinical data between the highest (n = 83), moderate (n = 106) and low risk (n = 6) genotypes, we found no difference in age at diagnosis (mean age 2.8 ± 1.1 vs. 2.8 ± 1.2 vs. 3.2 ± 1.5 years), metabolic control, or frequency of associated autoimmune diseases between HLA risk groups (each p > 0.05). Residual C-peptide was detectable in 23.5% and C-peptide levels in the highest-risk group were comparable to levels in moderate to high risk genotypes.
Conclusion: In this study, we saw no evidence for a different clinical course of early-onset T1D based on the HLA genotype within the first ten years after manifestation.
Keywords: C-peptide; MHC II; autoimmunity; diabetes mellitus; human leukocyte antigen.