, Volume 60, Issue 7, pp 1284–1293 | Cite as

Characterisation of rapid progressors to type 1 diabetes among children with HLA-conferred disease susceptibility

  • Petra M. Pöllänen
  • Johanna Lempainen
  • Antti-Pekka Laine
  • Jorma Toppari
  • Riitta Veijola
  • Paula Vähäsalo
  • Jorma Ilonen
  • Heli Siljander
  • Mikael Knip



In this study, we aimed to characterise rapid progressors to type 1 diabetes among children recruited from the general population, on the basis of HLA-conferred disease susceptibility.


We monitored 7410 HLA-predisposed children participating in the Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention (DIPP) study for the development of beta cell autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes from birth over a median follow-up time of 16.2 years (range 0.9–21.1 years). Islet cell antibodies (ICA) and autoantibodies to insulin (IAA), GAD (GADA) and islet antigen 2 (IA-2A) were assessed as markers of beta cell autoimmunity. Rapid progression was defined as progression to clinical type 1 diabetes within 1.5 years of autoantibody seroconversion. We analysed the association between rapid progression and demographic and autoantibody characteristics as well as genetic markers, including 25 non-HLA SNPs predisposing to type 1 diabetes.


Altogether, 1550 children (21%) tested positive for at least one diabetes-associated autoantibody in at least two samples, and 248 (16%) of seroconverters progressed to type 1 diabetes by the end of 2015. The median time from seroconversion to diagnosis was 0.51 years in rapid progressors (n = 42, 17%) and 5.4 years in slower progressors. Rapid progression was observed both among young (<5 years) and early pubertal children (>7 years), resulting in a double-peak distribution of seroconversion age. Compared with slower progressors, rapid progressors had a higher frequency of positivity for multiple (≥2) autoantibodies and had higher titres of ICA, IAA and IA-2A at seroconversion, and there was a higher prevalence of the secretor genotype in the FUT2 gene among those carrying the high-risk HLA genotype. Compared with autoantibody-positive non-progressors, rapid progressors were younger, were more likely to carry the high-risk HLA genotype and a predisposing SNP in the PTPN22 gene, had higher frequency of ICA, IAA, GADA and IA-2A positivity and multipositivity, and had higher titres of all four autoantibodies at seroconversion.


At seroconversion, individuals with rapid progression to type 1 diabetes were characterised by a younger age, higher autoantibody titres, positivity for multiple autoantibodies and higher prevalence of a FUT2 SNP. The double-peak profile for seroconversion age among the rapid progressors demonstrates for the first time that rapid progression may take place not only in young children but also in children in early puberty. Rapid progressors might benefit from careful clinical follow-up and early preventive measures.


Children Diabetes-associated autoantibodies GAD antibodies HLA IA-2 antibodies Insulin autoantibodies Islet cell antibodies Prediction Prevention Type 1 diabetes 



Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention




GAD autoantibodies


Islet antigen 2


IA-2 autoantibodies


Insulin autoantibodies


Islet cell antibodies


JDF units


Relative units



The authors acknowledge all participants in the DIPP study and physicians, nurses and technicians at the DIPP study centres and laboratories. Some of these data were presented as an abstract at the 51st EASD Annual Meeting, Stockholm, Sweden, 14–18 September 2015.

Data availability

The study data are available on reasonable request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to the protection of the identity of the study participants and their clinical data.


This work was supported by the following grants: JDRF International (grant nos 4-1998-274, 4-1999-731, 4-2001-435); European Union (grant no. BMH4-CT98-3314); Novo Nordisk Foundation; Academy of Finland (Centre of Excellence in Molecular Systems Immunology and Physiology Research 2012–2017, Decision no. 250114 and grant 292538); Special Research Funds for University Hospitals in Finland; Diabetes Research Foundation, Finland; Sigrid Juselius Foundation; and Finska Läkaresällskapet.

Duality of interest

The authors declare that there is no duality of interest associated with this manuscript.

Contribution statement

PMP collected and researched the data and substantially contributed to the study conception and design, data acquisition, analysis and interpretation, and drafted the first version of the article. HS substantially contributed to data acquisition, contributed to discussions and edited the manuscript. MK, JL, A-PL, JI, JT, RV and PV generated data, contributed to discussions and revised the article critically for important intellectual content. All authors gave their final approval of the version to be published. MK designed the study, is the guarantor of this work, had full access to all data in the study, and takes responsibility for the data integrity and accuracy of the data analysis.

Supplementary material

125_2017_4258_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (6 mb)
ESM (PDF 6177 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petra M. Pöllänen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Johanna Lempainen
    • 3
  • Antti-Pekka Laine
    • 3
  • Jorma Toppari
    • 4
  • Riitta Veijola
    • 5
  • Paula Vähäsalo
    • 5
  • Jorma Ilonen
    • 3
  • Heli Siljander
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mikael Knip
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Children’s HospitalUniversity of Helsinki and Helsinki University HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Research Programs Unit, Diabetes and ObesityUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Immunogenetics LaboratoryUniversity of Turku and Turku University HospitalTurkuFinland
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Turku and Turku University HospitalTurkuFinland
  5. 5.Department of Pediatrics, PEDEGO Research Group, Medical Research CenterOulu University Hospital and University of OuluOuluFinland
  6. 6.Tampere Center for Child Health ResearchTampere University HospitalTampereFinland
  7. 7.Folkhälsan Research CenterHelsinkiFinland

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