Diabetes Mellitus

  • Stefan S. Fajans


Evidence has accumulated that primary or idiopathic diabetes mellitus is a heterogenous group of disorders that share hyperglycemia and, in part, the complications of diabetes mellitus. As such, it is a syndrome, not a single specific disease. In primary diabetes mellitus, genetic as well as environmental factors appear to be involved. Various environmental factors, superimposed on differences in genetic susceptibility, may be important in the pathogenesis of different forms of the disease. Evidence supporting the hypothesis of genetic heterogeneity was reviewed in Chapter 2 of The Year in Metabolism 1975–1976 (Fajans, 1976), at an international workshop on the genetics of diabetes mellitus (Creutzfeldt et al., 1976), and by Zonana and Rimoin (1976). To recapitulate briefly, at least five different lines of evidence have emerged to support the concept of genetic heterogeneity in diabetes: (1) histocompatibility (HLA) studies; (2) analysis of prevalence of diabetes and HLA types in identical twins; (3) pedigree analysis of two forms of diabetes in young people; (4) evidence of autoimmune phenomenon as expressed in the finding of circulating pancreatic islet-cell antibodies; and (5) evidence of autoimmune abnormalities as expressed by the finding of cell-mediated immunity.


Obesity Cortisol Fructose Epinephrine Tetracycline 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan S. Fajans
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the Metabolism Research UnitThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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