(HealthDay News) – Most children genetically at risk of developing type 1 diabetes will develop the disease if they seroconvert to multiple islet autoantibodies, according to a study published in the June 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Anette G. Ziegler, MD, from Technische Universität München in Neuherberg, Germany, and colleagues prospectively investigated the rate of progression to type 1 diabetes after islet autoantibody seroconversion in 13,377 children genetically at risk in the United States (Colorado), Finland, and Germany.

After a follow-up of 10 years, the researchers found that the rate of progression to type 1 diabetes was 69.7% of 585 children with multiple islet autoantibodies. Progression was faster for those who seroconverted before 3 years of age (hazard ratio [HR], 1.65; 10-year risk, 74.9%), those with the human leukocyte antigen genotype DR3/DR4-DQ8 (HR, 1.35; 10-year risk, 76.6%), and females (HR, 1.28; 10-year risk, 74.8%). In contrast, the rate of progression was 14.5% for children with a single islet autoantibody and 0.4% by 15 years of age for children with no autoantibodies.

“The majority of children at risk of type 1 diabetes who had multiple islet autoantibody seroconversion progressed to diabetes over the next 15 years,” Ziegler and colleagues conclude.

One author is a board member of Novo Nordisk Diabetes and Medtronic Nordic.

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