, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 105-109

Genetic predisposition and environmental factors leading to the development of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in Chilean children

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Abstract

This study was designed to examine the hypothesis that some environmental factors increase the risk for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Data on dietary history was collected from 80 diabetic children from the Santiago de Chile Registry and from 85 nondiabetic control subjects who were comparable in terms of age, sex, and ethnic characteristics. Early exposure was defined as the ingestion of food sources other than maternal milk before 3 months of age. To define genetic susceptibility to insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus each subject was typed in terms of HLA DQA1 and DQB1, and the possible conformation of susceptible heterodimers was considered as a risk marker. Fewer children were exclusively breast fed in the diabetic group than in the control group (21.55±15.05 vs. 33.95±20.40 weeks, P<0.01). In addition, exposure to cow's milk and solid foods occurred earlier in the diabetic group than in the control group (15.90±10.95 vs. 21.15 13.65 and 16.85±10.25 vs. 21.20±12.35 weeks, P<0.05). Our data show that a short duration of breast-feeding and early exposure to cow's milk and solid foods may be important factors in the development of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The high relative risk observed in individuals genetically predisposed indicates an interaction effect between genetic and environmental components.