The length of the CTLA-4 microsatellite (AT)N-repeat affects the risk for type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Incidence in Sweden Study Group.
ABSTRACT CTLA-4 is important to down-regulating T cell responses and has been implicated in type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus in both linkage and association studies. The aim of our study was to relate the polymorphic (AT)n microsatellite in the 3' untranslated sequence of the CTLA-4 gene to diabetes risk. We studied 616 consecutively diagnosed 0-34 year-old Swedish patients and 502 matched controls by PCR-based genotyping fo determine the length of the 3'-end (AT)n repeat region of the CTLA-4 gene and categorizing alleles as predominantly monomorphic short (S) or highly polymorphic (in length) long (L) alleles. The odds of type 1 diabetes of subjects with the L/L genotype was estimated to be 1.84 times that of subjects with the S/S genotype (95% CI 1.44-2.73, p=0.002). Further analysis of the long alleles, partitioned into intermediate (I) length and very long (VL) alleles, suggested that L alleles act recessively in conferring diabetes risk (p=0.0009). This study suggests that the 3'-end (AT)n repeat region of the CTLA-4 gene represents a recessive risk factor for type 1 diabetes.