Genetics of type 1 diabetes.
Genome-wide scans for linkage of chromosome regions to type 1 diabetes in affected sib pair families have revealed that the major susceptibility locus resides within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on chromosome 6p21 (lambda s = 2.5). It is recognised that the MHC contains multiple susceptibility loci (referred to collectively as IDDM1), including the class II antigen receptor genes, which control the major pathological feature of the disease: T lymphocyte-mediated autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. However, the MHC genes, and a second locus, the insulin gene minisatellite on chromosome 11p15 (IDDM2; lambda s = 1.25), cannot account for all of the observed clustering of disease in families (lambda s = 15), and the scans suggested the presence of other susceptibility loci scattered throughout the genome. There are four additional loci for which there is currently sufficient evidence from linkage and association studies to justify fine mapping experiments: IDDM4 (FGF3/11q13), IDDM5 (ESR/6q22), IDDM8 (D6S281/6q27) and IDDM12 (CTLA-4/2q33), IDDM4, 5 and 8 were detected by genome scanning, and IDDM12 by a candidate gene strategy. The results suggest that the clustering of type 1 diabetes in families is due to the sharing of alleles at multiple loci, and that the as yet unidentified environmental factors are not causing clustering, but instead appear to influence the overall penetrance of genetically programmed susceptibility. The data are consistent with a polygenic threshold model for the inheritance of type 1 diabetes.