HLA-A, B, C, and DR-typing was performed in 51 children with insulin-dependent diabetes. A close association between childhood diabetes and HLA-DR3 and DR4 was established. DR3 was found in 55% and DR4 in 75% of the diabetic children, compared with 20% and 26% respectively in healthy controls. The combination of DR3 and DR4 was present in 37% of the diabetic children compared with only 4% of the controls. This investigation provides strong evidence that the susceptibility genes for insulin-dependent diabetes are in close linkage disequilibrium with the HLA-DR locus. In diabetic children DR4 seems to be a more important susceptibility factor than in patients with manifestation of insulin-dependent diabetes after 15 years.
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