, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 171-185,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 22 Dec 2006

Monogenic diabetes in children and young adults: Challenges for researcher, clinician and patient

Abstract

Monogenic diabetes results from one or more mutations in a single gene which might hence be rare but has great impact leading to diabetes at a very young age. It has resulted in great challenges for researchers elucidating the aetiology of diabetes and related features in other organ systems, for clinicians specifying a diagnosis that leads to improved genetic counselling, predicting of clinical course and changes in treatment, and for patients to altered treatment that has lead to coming off insulin and injections with no alternative (Glucokinase mutations), insulin injections being replaced by tablets (e.g. low dose in HNFα or high dose in potassium channel defects -Kir6.2 and SUR1) or with tablets in addition to insulin (e.g. metformin in insulin resistant syndromes). Genetic testing requires guidance to test for what gene especially given limited resources. Monogenic diabetes should be considered in any diabetic patient who has features inconsistent with their current diagnosis (unspecified neonatal diabetes, type 1 or type 2 diabetes) and clinical features of a specific subtype of monogenic diabetes (neonatal diabetes, familial diabetes, mild hyperglycaemia, syndromes). Guidance is given by clinical and physiological features in patient and family and the likelihood of the proposed mutation altering clinical care. In this article, I aimed to provide insight in the genes and mutations involved in insulin synthesis, secretion, and resistance, and to provide guidance for genetic testing by showing the clinical and physiological features and tests for each specified diagnosis as well as the opportunities for treatment.