Public Release: 

Diabetes more frequent in children with chronic rheumatic disease

Further research into link between Type 1 diabetes and Juvenile Inflammatory Arthritis may lead to new treatments

European League Against Rheumatism

London, United Kingdom, June 9, 2016: The results of a study involving more than 9,000 patients, presented today at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2016) showed that Type 1 diabetes occurs significantly more frequently in patients with Juvenile Inflammatory Arthritis (JIA) than in the general population. A better understanding of this link between diabetes and JIA may lead to new preventative and therapeutic interventions in both these diseases.

JIA is the most common chronic rheumatic disease of childhood, affecting between 20 and 150 children per 100,000 at any one time. It is defined as chronic inflammation of the synovial joints, with unknown cause, which may start in children even as young as one year old, and persists for at least six weeks. JIA causes pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints, and sometimes rash and fever. Despite advances in treatment, JIA can cause many children to miss time off school and find it difficult to take part in physical activities.

In the past few years, important advances have been made in understanding the so-called 'susceptibility' genes, which contribute to different autoimmune diseases. It is becoming clear that, despite the apparent clinical differences between autoimmune diseases, they share a number of genetic risk factors. Children and adolescents with JIA are therefore likely to develop other autoimmune diseases.

"We know that there is a clear increase in the prevalence of Juvenile Inflammatory Arthritis in young people with Type 1 diabetes compared with the general paediatric population," said Dr Kirsten Minden from the Rheumatism Research Centre, Berlin, Germany. "However, this study shows the reverse correlation that Type 1 diabetes occurs more commonly in patients with JIA. 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," Dr Minden concluded.

The study included 9,359 JIA patients with a mean age of 12 years and a mean disease duration of 4.5 years, recorded in the German national paediatric rheumatologic database (NPRD ) in 2012 and 2013. Type 1 diabetes was diagnosed in 50 of these children, equivalent to a diabetes prevalence of 0.5%. Compared to an age and sex matched sample of the general population, the diabetes prevalence in JIA patients was significantly increased, with approximately double the prevalence ratio for diabetes in JIA patients compared to controls (1.92 for girls and 2.04 for boys).

More than half of the patients (58%) developed diabetes before JIA. The onset of diabetes was on average five years before the onset of JIA. Patients with JIA before Type 1 diabetes developed their diabetes on average nearly three years after the onset of JIA. The majority of these patients had not received any disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) before the onset of their diabetes. Patients with Type 1 diabetes did not differ significantly in the severity spectrum of their JIA compared to those without diabetes.

Abstract Number: OP0137

###

NOTES TO EDITORS:

For further information on this study, or to request an interview with the study lead, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress

Press Office in the London Suite at ExCel London during EULAR 2016 or on:

Email: eularpressoffice@cohnwolfe.com

Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7725 915 492 / +44 (0) 7786 171 476

Twitter: @EULAR_Press

Youtube: Eular Pressoffice

About EULAR

The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is an umbrella organisation which represents scientific societies, health professional associations and organisations for people with Rheumatic Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMD) throughout Europe.

EULAR aims to promote, stimulate and support the research, prevention, and treatment of RMD and the rehabilitation of those it affects.

EULAR underlines the importance of combating rheumatic diseases not only by medical means, but also through a wider context of care for rheumatic patients and a thorough understanding of their social and other needs. EULAR is supported in this mission by its 45 scientific member societies, 36 PARE (People with Arthritis/Rheumatism in Europe) organisations, 22 HPR (Health Professionals in Rheumatology) associations and 23 corporate members.

The EULAR Annual European Congress of Rheumatology is the foremost international medical meeting announcing the latest research on rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. EULAR 2016 is expected to attract over 14,000 delegates from around 120 countries. Most if not all professions working in the vast field of RMD will be represented.

To find out more about the activities of EULAR, visit: http://www.eular.org

References

1. EULAR 2016; London: Abstract OP0137

2. Sherry DD. Juvenile Inflammatory Arthritis. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1007276-overview#a1 [Accessed 19 May 2016]

3. Lettre G, Rioux JD. Autoimmune diseases: insights from genome-wide association studies. Hum Mol Genet 2008; 17: R116-21

4. Prahalad S, Shear ES, Thompson SD, et al. Increased prevalence of familial autoimmunity in simplex and multiplex families with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2002; 46: 1851-6

5. Hermann G, Thon A, Mönkemoller K, et al. Comorbidity of type 1 diabetes and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. J Pediatr 2015; 166: 930-5

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.