Background: Autoimmune (type 1) diabetes (T1D) is a frequent chronic disease in children and adolescents globally. Gestational enterovirus (EV) infections have been associated with an increased risk for T1D in the offspring. We test the hypothesis that EV infections during the first trimester were associated with beta cell autoantibodies in mothers of children who developed islet autoantibodies before 7 years of age.
Materials and methods: Local registries were used to identify mothers to children born 2000-2007 who developed either beta cell autoantibodies or T1D during follow up. Serum samples from the first trimester were located in the Biobank. A total of 448 index mothers were identified and compared to 891 matched control mothers. EV-IgM was determined in a capture enzyme immunoassay. Beta cell autoantibodies were analyzed in standard radio binding assays.
Results: The frequency of EV-IgM in index mothers was 20% (89/448), which did not differ from the control mothers 20% (175/891) (p = 0.922). Index mothers had multiple beta cell autoantibodies more often than control mothers (p = 0.037). Beta cell autoantibodies were increased during the November-April winter months in index compared to control mothers (p = 0.022). The observed difference was possibly explained by the months of February-April (p = 0.014). Concomitant EV-IgM and beta cell autoantibodies tended to be more common among index compared to control mothers (p = 0.039).
Conclusion: EV-IgM during the first trimester may be associated with beta cell autoantibodies in mothers to children who developed either beta cell autoantibodies or T1D before 7 years of age.
Keywords: Autoantibodies; Beta cell autoimmunity; Biobank; Capture enzyme Immunoassay; Childhood diabetes; EV IgM analysis; Enterovirus; Epidemiology; GAD65; Gestational infections; IA-2; Neutralization assay; Type 1 diabetes; Virus infections; ZnT8.
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