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Diabetes incidence higher in juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients

Kavitha G.Shekar
14 Jun 2016

The incidence of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) was found to be higher in juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients (JIA) compared with the general population, said German researchers at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2016) held in London, UK.

Compared to the general population, T1D prevalence in JIA patients was significantly higher (prevalence ratio [PR], 1.96, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.49-2.59; p<0.001), with an overall prevalence of 0.5 percent. Furthermore the researchers found that the PR for T1D in girls was 1.92 (95 percent CI, 1.35-2.75; p<0.001) and in boys was 2.04 (95 percent CI, 1.30-3.19; p=0.002). [EULAR 2016, abstract OP0137]

“We know that there is a clear increase in the prevalence of JIA in young people with T1D compared with the general paediatric population,” said study author Dr. Kirsten Minden from the Rheumatism Research Centre, Berlin, Germany. “However, this study shows the reverse correlation that T1D occurs more commonly in patients with JIA.”

This analysis included 9,359 JIA patients with mean patient age of 12 years, and disease duration of 4.5 years. Minden and team also identified that 58 percent of the JIA patients developed T1D before JIA onset. T1D onset was estimated to be an average 60 months before JIA. Patients who developed JIA prior to T1D ended up developing T1D 35 months after JIA.

Commenting on further research possibilities in this area, Minden said that “the next step is to explore in detail the factors and mechanisms that link the two diseases, and confirm that these findings are applicable to other geographic areas, where different environmental and genetic factors are at play. By better understanding this link, we may be able to develop new preventative and therapeutic interventions.”

Minden’s study results are in line with findings from previous studies which show that despite clinical differences of autoimmune diseases JIA patients share several genetic risk factors and these children and adolescents are prone to developing other autoimmune diseases. [Hum Mol Genet 2008;17:R116-21; Arthritis Rheum 2002;46:1815-1816]

JIA, a chronic inflammatory disease of the synovial joints, is one of the most common chronic rheumatic childhood disease affecting children even as young as a year old. Pain, swelling, stiffness of joints, occasional fever and rashes are some of the commonly seen symptoms.

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