, Volume 36, Issue 9, pp 870-875

A nationwide population-based study of the familial aggregation of Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus in Denmark

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Summary

The objective of the present study was to assess the prevalence of familial aggregation of Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus among Danish families with a diabetic child aged 20 years or less and to compare epidemiological data for familial and sporadic cases. We attempted to identify all patients with Type 1 diabetes aged 0–19 years in Denmark treated at paediatric departments or at departments of internal medicine. This comprises more than 98% of all patients with Type 1 diabetes in this age group. Patients were identified through the local diabetic out-patient registry and asked to complete a questionnaire regarding data on diabetes onset and family history. Of 1574 probands 1419 agreed to participate (90.2%). Additional cases of Type 1 diabetes were found in 171 families (12.8%). Of these 115 were parent-offspring affected families, and in 56 families at least two siblings had Type 1 diabetes and healthy parents. Significant correlation in age at onset of Type 1 diabetes in concordant siblings was observed (r=0.5, p=0.0004). Significantly more probands had an affected father with Type 1 diabetes than a mother affected (p<0.0001). Heterogeneity in epidemiological characteristics was observed between familial and sporadic cases, i.e. familial index cases were younger at onset of the disease, their parents were younger at birth of the index case, and there was no difference in gender of familial cases in contrast to sporadic cases where significantly more males were found. Over a 4-year period (1986–1989) an increasing trend in incidence was observed. However, an increase in incidence compared to previous Danish data from the 1970s and 1980 s could not be demonstrated.

The Danish Study Group of Diabetes in Childhood is an association of paediatricians with a special interest in diabetes research. For participating departments in the present study see Acknowledgements