Type 1 diabetes is a T cell mediated autoimmune disease, characterised by the selective destruction of pancreatic β cells, and susceptibility is determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The environmental agents implicated include viruses and dietary factors, although none has yet been shown to be directly responsible for triggering β cell autoimmunity. The genetic factors that influence disease risk have been subjected to more intensive study and two gene regions of major importance have been identified: the human leucocyte antigen locus and the insulin gene. This review will focus on the mechanisms by which these genes might influence the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
- type 1 diabetes
- HLA molecules
- molecular mechanisms
- GAD, glutamic acid decarboxylase
- HLA, human leucocyte antigen
- IDDM, insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
- IGF, insulin-like growth factor
- MHC, major histocompatibility complex
- NOD, non-obese diabetic
- TCR, T cell receptor
- VNTR, variable number of tandem repeats
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