Objectives.

The factors determining the pathogenesis of transient and permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus are poorly characterized. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of chromosome 6 in the pathogenesis of neonatal diabetes mellitus and to detect differences between these 2 phenotypes.

Methods.

Microsatellite markers (D6S334, D6S286, D6S310, D6S308, D6S292, D6S311, and D6S403) and human leukocyte antigen DQ alleles were examined using polymerase chain reaction and DNA fragment electrophoresis in 3 patients with transient and 3 patients with permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus. Humoral markers of islet cell autoimmunity and clinical characteristics were analyzed in the 2 groups.

Results.

A patient with transient neonatal diabetes mellitus (TND) and macroglossia carrying paternal uniparental isodisomy (UPD) of chromosome 6 has been identified. The isodisomy affected the whole chromosome; no maternal chromosome 6 sequences were detected. The permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus cases and the other 2 cases with TND did not have UPD. None of the patients had high-risk type 1 diabetes human leukocyte antigen DQ alleles and most infants were negative for islet cell-specific autoantibodies indicating that none of the 2 forms of neonatal diabetes mellitus is likely to be of autoimmune origin. An association of TND and persistent granulocytopenia is described for the first time.

Conclusions.

We propose that transient and permanent forms of neonatal diabetes mellitus have different genetic background and represent different disease entities. TND is associated with UPD of chromosome 6 suggesting that an imprinted gene on chromosome 6 is responsible for this phenotype. It seems that 2 copies of the paternal allele are necessary for the development of TND; therefore, it is likely that overexpression of a putative gene located on chromosome 6 alters pancreatic β-cell maturation and insulin secretion.

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