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Aetiopathology and genetic basis of neonatal diabetes


A British Paediatric Association Surveillance Unit* study of neonatal diabetes determined a national incidence of 1 in 400 000 live births. Additional cases of transient neonatal diabetes were collected retrospectively. Most cases were of low birthweight at term: none had evidence of an autoimmune aetiopathogenesis. The median requirement for exogenous insulin treatment was three months.

 A significant number of cases developed type 2 diabetes in later life. Three of the 11 cases were found to have paternal uniparental isodisomy of chromosome 6. A further patient carried an unbalanced duplication of 6q 22-23, inherited from the father, which localised a potentially imprinted gene for diabetes to this region.

 The fact that low birthweight predisposes to type 2 diabetes in later life is well established, but a genetic defect that may relate both to intrauterine growth failure and the development of type 2 diabetes in later life has now been identified.

  • neonatal diabetes
  • uniparental isodisomy
  • chromosome 6
  • type 2 diabetes.

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