Study uncovers risks of type 1 diabetes through autoantibody status changes

Study uncovers risks of type 1 diabetes through autoantibody status changes

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An ongoing study into the understanding how and why type 1 diabetes develops has uncovered changes in the risk of type 1 diabetes related to autoantibody status.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells. Specific autoantibodies are linked with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes developing.

The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study is taking place at different research centres across the US and Europe. The study is monitoring children from a very young age to understand what the possible causes of type 1 diabetes may be.

Results from some of the findings have been published online in the Diabetes Care journal. The researchers reviewed how changes in the autoantibodies that were present affected the risk of type 1 diabetes developing within two years of the changes.

The three autoantibodies monitored were the insulin autoantibody, GAD antibody, and insulinoma antigen-2 antibodies. The children involved in the study were chosen as those aged under 10 years old at the start of the study and with a known risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

The findings showed that a number of children that showed signs of one or more autoantibodies reverted to showing no signs of autoantibodies. This occurred in 24 per cent of children with single autoantibodies whereas it occurred in less than one per cent of children with multiple autoantibodies.

The results of the study showed that the risk for type 1 diabetes per 100 person-years was:

  • 0.14 for those reverted from single autoantibodies to autoantibody negative
  • 0.06 for those who never developed autoantibodies
  • 1.8 for those who remained single-autoantibody positive

The study therefore showed that children that reverted to having no autoantibodies showed a lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes over two years. However, it also showed that the risk of type 1 diabetes was still present even when autoantibody reversion had taken place.