Metabolic Profiles from Blood Samples May Help Identify Children at Risk for Type 1 Diabetes

In the present study, serum metabolite profiles were analyzed in children from the BABYDIAB study, which follows the progress of islet autoimmunity from birth in 1,650 children of mothers or fathers with T1D. This study showed that after children developed islet autoantibodies, there was an increase in certain triglycerides and certain lipids compared to children who remained autoantibody negative. In addition, the investigators showed that children who developed autoantibodies by age 2 also had persistent changes in certain metabolites that were different from children who developed autoantibodies at a later age or those who remained autoantibody negative. Thus, the investigators have shown that distinct metabolic profiles are associated with age and islet autoimmunity.


Pflueger M, Seppänen-Laakso T, Suortti T, Hyötyläinen T, Achenbach P, Bonifacio E, Oreai M, Ziegler AG. (2011). Age- and islet autoimmunity-associated differences in amino acid and lipid metabolites in children at risk for type 1 diabetes. Diabetes. Nov;60(11):2740-7.

Ramifications for Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes:

This particular study showed that changes in certain metabolites may be altered in the development of islet autoimmunity in children genetically at-risk for development of T1D. Furthermore, they showed that children who develop islet autoantibodies at a young age appear to have a distinct mechanism of autoimmunity compared to those children who develop autoimmunity later in life. Metabolite profiles may be useful, in the future, in helping to stratify patients at-risk for T1D for prevention or treatment strategies.

JDRF Involvement:

This research was supported by a Priority Research Grant to Dr. Ziegler and an Early Career Patient-Oriented Diabetes Research Award to Dr. Peter Achenbach.