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Significance of cow's milk protein antibodies as risk factor for childhood IDDM: interactions with dietary cow's milk intake and HLA-DQB1 genotype

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Dietary factors are suspected to play an aetiological role in the development of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). We analysed cow's milk formula, betalactoglobulin, and bovine serum albumin antibodies by an enzyme-linked immunoassay in unselected children with newly diagnosed IDDM and in their non-diabetic siblings and enquired about infant feeding practices by questionnaire. Among 410 diabetic sibling pairs matched for age and sex, by logistic regression analysis – including overall duration of breast-feeding, age at introduction of dairy products, recent consumption of cow's milk and HLA-DQB1 genotype (“high/moderate” vs “low/decreased” risk of IDDM) – bovine serum albumin IgG antibody levels (OR 2.12, 95 %CI 1.25–3.57) and genetic risk (OR 3.81, 95 %CI 2.43–5.17) were positively associated with IDDM; cow's milk formula IgM antibodies were inversely associated with the risk of IDDM (OR 0.50, 95 %CI 0.29–0.87). Of the diabetic sibling pairs, 42 were identical for HLA-DQB1 alleles associated with IDDM risk or protection (DQB1*0201, *0301, *0302 and *0602/03). In these 42 pairs, children with IDDM had higher median levels of bovine serum albumin IgG, of betalactoglobulin IgG, and of cow's milk formula IgG and IgA antibodies than the non-diabetic siblings (p < 0.05). In conclusion, children with IDDM have higher levels of cow's milk protein antibodies than their HLA-DQB1-matched sibling controls, and these high levels of antibodies are independent risk markers for IDDM. [Diabetologia (1998) 41: 72–78]

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Received: 13 June 1997 and in revised form: 26 August 1997

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Saukkonen, T., Virtanen, S., Karppinen, M. et al. Significance of cow's milk protein antibodies as risk factor for childhood IDDM: interactions with dietary cow's milk intake and HLA-DQB1 genotype. Diabetologia 41, 72–78 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001250050869

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s001250050869

  • Keywords Cow's milk protein antibodies
  • infant feeding
  • dairy products
  • human leucocyte antigens
  • IDDM
  • children.