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      Neonatal Diabetes: New Insights into Aetiology and Implications

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          Neonatal diabetes mellitus (NDM) is defined as hyperglycaemia occurring in the first few weeks of life. It can be either transient (TNDM) or permanent (PNDM), and until recently, little was known about the condition. A cohort of 30 infants with a history of TNDM has been studied, and findings have suggested that NDM does not have the same aetiology as classical type 1 childhood diabetes. Uniparental isodisomy of chromosome 6 and an unbalanced duplication of paternal chromosome 6 have both been described as a genetic basis for TNDM in over 75% of the cases. In addition, cerebellar hypoplasia and Walcott-Rallison syndrome have been associated with PNDM, suggesting an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern; furthermore, a mutation in the gene insulin promoter factor 1 has been identified as a cause of pancreatic agenesis in PNDM. In the long term, TNDM may reduce beta cell functional capacity and present a predisposition to type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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          Pancreatic agenesis attributable to a single nucleotide deletion in the human IPF1 gene coding sequence.

          The homeodomain protein IPF1 (also known as IDX1, STF1 and PDX1; see Methods) is critical for development of the pancreas in mice and is a key factor for the regulation of the insulin gene in the beta-cells of the endocrine pancreas. Targeted disruption of the Ipf1 gene encoding IPF1 in transgenic mice results in a failure of the pancreas to develop (pancreatic agenesis). Here, we report the identification of a single nucleotide deletion within codon 63 of the human IPF1 gene (13q12.1) in a patient with pancreatic agenesis. The patient is homozygous for the point deletion, whereas both parents are heterozygotes for the same mutation. The deletion was not found in 184 chromosomes from normal individuals, indicating that the mutation is unlikely to be a rare polymorphism. The point deletion causes a frame shift at the C-terminal border of the transactivation domain of IPF1 resulting in the translation of 59 novel codons before termination, aminoproximal to the homeodomain essential for DNA binding. Expression of mutant IPF1 in Cos-1 cells confirms the expression of a prematurely terminated truncated protein of 16 kD. Thus, the affected patient should have no functional IPF1 protein. Given the essential role of IPF1 in pancreas development, it is likely that this autosomal recessive mutation is the cause of the pancreatic agenesis phenotype in this patient. Thus, IPF1 appears to be a critical regulator of pancreas development in humans as well as mice.
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            Mutations in the glucokinase gene of the fetus result in reduced birth weight.

            Low birth weight and fetal thinness have been associated with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and insulin resistance in childhood and adulthood. It has been proposed that this association results from fetal programming in response to the intrauterine environment. An alternative explanation is that the same genetic influences alter both intrauterine growth and adult glucose tolerance. Fetal insulin secretion in response to maternal glycaemia plays a key role in fetal growth, and adult insulin secretion is a primary determinant of glucose tolerance. We hypothesized that a defect in the sensing of glucose by the pancreas, caused by a heterozygous mutation in the glucokinase gene, could reduce fetal growth and birth weight in addition to causing hyperglycaemia after birth. In 58 offspring, where one parent has a glucokinase mutation, the inheritance of a glucokinase mutation by the fetus resulted in a mean reduction of birth weight of 533 g (P=0.002). In 19 of 21 sibpairs discordant for the presence of a glucokinase mutation, the child with the mutation had a lower birth weight, with a mean difference of 521 g (P=0.0002). Maternal hyperglycaemia due to a glucokinase mutation resulted in a mean increase in birth weight of 601 g (P=0.001). The effects of maternal and fetal glucokinase mutations on birth weight were additive. We propose that these changes in birth weight reflect changes in fetal insulin secretion which are influenced directly by the fetal genotype and indirectly, through maternal hyperglycaemia, by the maternal genotype. This observation suggests that variation in fetal growth could be used in the assessment of the role of genes which modify either insulin secretion or insulin action.
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              Long-term course of neonatal diabetes.

              Neonatal diabetes mellitus--defined here as hyperglycemia occurring within the first month of life that lasts for at least two weeks and requires insulin therapy--is a very rare form of the disease. Little is known about it, particularly with respect to its long-term course. We studied two brothers who had neonatal diabetes and obtained follow-up information on 34 patients described in the literature as well as information on 21 additional patients. Forty-seven of the patients had neonatal diabetes, as defined above, and in 10 others the onset was between the first and third month of life. Twenty-six of the 57 infants had permanent diabetes, 18 had transient diabetes, and 13 had transient diabetes that recurred when they were 7 to 20 years old. Neonatal diabetes was associated with the Wolcott-Rallison syndrome in six infants, hyperuricemia due to phosphoribosyl-ATP pyrophosphatase hyperactivity in two, and celiac disease in two. Forty-one of 45 neonates in whom the duration of gestation and birth weight were known were small for their gestational ages. There were two pairs of affected twins and four other families with two or more infants with neonatal diabetes, but only three parents had diabetes. The incidence of neonatal diabetes mellitus in Germany has been estimated to be 1 in 500,000 neonates. Neonatal diabetes differs from insulin-dependent diabetes in that its course is highly variable. Some patients have permanent diabetes, but others have transient or lasting remissions.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                July 2000
                17 November 2004
                : 53
                : Suppl 1
                : 7-11
                Institute of Child Health, Bristol, UK
                53198 Horm Res 2000;53(suppl 1):7–11
                © 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                References: 45, Pages: 5


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