Interactions between genetic and environmental factors lead to immune dysregulation causing type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune disorders. Recently, many common genetic variants have been associated with type 1 diabetes risk, but each has modest individual effects. Familial clustering of type 1 diabetes has not been explained fully and could arise from many factors, including undetected genetic variation and gene interactions.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
To address this issue, the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium recruited 3,892 families, including 4,422 affected sib-pairs. After genotyping 6,090 markers, linkage analyses of these families were performed, using a novel method and taking into account factors such as genotype at known susceptibility loci.
Evidence for linkage was robust at the HLA and INS loci, with logarithm of odds (LOD) scores of 398.6 and 5.5, respectively. There was suggestive support for five other loci. Stratification by other risk factors (including HLA and age at diagnosis) identified one convincing region on chromosome 6q14 showing linkage in male subjects (corrected LOD = 4.49; replication P = 0.0002), a locus on chromosome 19q in HLA identical siblings (replication P = 0.006), and four other suggestive loci.
This is the largest linkage study reported for any disease. Our data indicate there are no major type 1 diabetes subtypes definable by linkage analyses; susceptibility is caused by actions of HLA and an apparently random selection from a large number of modest-effect loci; and apart from HLA and INS, there is no important susceptibility factor discoverable by linkage methods.