The first-appearing β-cell autoantibody has been shown to influence risk of type 1 diabetes (T1D). Here, we assessed the risk of autoantibody spreading to the second-appearing autoantibody and further progression to clinical disease in the Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young study.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Eligible children with increased HLA-DR-DQ genetic risk for T1D were followed quarterly from age 3 months up to 15 years for development of a single first-appearing autoantibody (GAD antibody [GADA], insulin autoantibody [IAA], or IA2 autoantibody [IA-2A]) and subsequent development of a single second-appearing autoantibody and progression to T1D. Autoantibody positivity was defined as positivity for a specific autoantibody at two consecutive visits confirmed in two laboratories. Zinc transporter 8 autoantibody (ZnT8A) was measured in children who developed another autoantibody.
There were 608 children who developed a single first-appearing autoantibody (IAA, n = 282 or GADA, n = 326) with a median follow-up of 12.5 years from birth. The risk of a second-appearing autoantibody was independent of GADA versus IAA as a first-appearing autoantibody (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 1.12, 95% CI = 0.88–1.42, P = 0.36). Second-appearing GADA, IAA, IA-2A, or ZnT8A conferred an increased risk of T1D compared with children who remained positive for a single autoantibody, e.g., IAA or GADA second (adjusted HR 6.44; 95% CI 3.78–10.98), IA-2A second (adjusted HR 16.33; 95% CI 9.10–29.29; P < 0.0001), or ZnT8A second (adjusted HR 5.35; 95% CI 2.61–10.95; P < 0.0001). In children who developed a distinct second autoantibody, IA-2A (adjusted HR = 3.08; 95% CI = 2.04–4.65; P < 0.0001) conferred a greater risk of progression to T1D as compared with GADA or IAA. Additionally, both a younger initial age at seroconversion and shorter time to the development of the second-appearing autoantibody increased the risk for T1D.
The hierarchical order of distinct autoantibody spreading was independent of the first-appearing autoantibody type and was age-dependent and augmented the risk of progression to T1D.