, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 763–768 | Cite as

Concordance for Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus in male twins

  • B. Newman
  • J. V. Selby
  • M. -C. King
  • C. Slemenda
  • R. Fabsitz
  • G. D. Friedman


Concordance for Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes was determined in 250 monozygotic and 264 dizygotic white male twin pairs who participated in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Twin Study. These twins were born between 1917 and 1927 and were identified from military records without regard to disease status. We examined surviving members of the cohort twice — at mean ages of 47 and 57 years — and obtained 1-h post-load glucose tests and medication histories. Diagnostic criteria for Type 2 diabetes included a glucose value≥13.9 mmol/l or current use of antidiabetic medication; possible Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic twins were excluded. A strong genetic predisposition to Type 2 diabetes was suggested by 3 lines of evidence from the second examination: (1) 58% of monozygotic co-twins of diabetic twins were themselves diabetic compared with an expected prevalence of 10%; (2) only 1 of 15 originally disease-discordant, monozygotic twin pairs remained discordant for diabetes; and (3) 65% of non-diabetic monozygotic co-twins of diabetic twins had elevated glucose values. Because concordance for diabetes was less than 100% for twins aged 52–65 years and because twins varied in age at onset of disease, non-genetic factors may also influence diabetes development. Among the 19 monozygotic twins pairs discordant for diabetes, diabetic twins did not differ from their non-diabetic co-twins in obesity, diet, alcohol consumption, or education. However, compared with unrelated nondiabetic twins of the same ages, non-diabetic co-twins of diabetic twins gained more weight as adults (p<0.02) and had higher glucose levels (p<0.03).

Key words

Diabetes mellitus Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) twins genetics medical diseases in twins disease susceptibility 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Newman
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. V. Selby
    • 1
  • M. -C. King
    • 2
  • C. Slemenda
    • 3
  • R. Fabsitz
    • 4
  • G. D. Friedman
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care ProgramNorthern California RegionOaklandUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Health,University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Department of MedicineIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  4. 4.Clinical and Genetic Epidemiology BranchNational Heart, Lung and Blood InstituteBethesdaUSA

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