The MHC region harbors the strongest loci for latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA); however, the strength of association is likely attenuated compared with that for childhood-onset type 1 diabetes. In this study, we recapitulate independent effects in the MHC class I region in a population with type 1 diabetes and then determine whether such conditioning in LADA yields potential genetic discriminators between the two subtypes within this region.
Chromosome 6 was imputed using SNP2HLA, with conditional analysis performed in type 1 diabetes case subjects (n = 1,985) and control subjects (n = 2,219). The same approach was applied to a LADA cohort (n = 1,428) using population-based control subjects (n = 2,850) and in a separate replication cohort (656 type 1 diabetes case, 823 LADA case, and 3,218 control subjects).
The strongest associations in the MHC class II region (rs3957146, β [SE] = 1.44 [0.05]), as well as the independent effect of MHC class I genes, on type 1 diabetes risk, particularly HLA-B*39 (β [SE] = 1.36 [0.17]), were confirmed. The conditional analysis in LADA versus control subjects showed significant association in the MHC class II region (rs3957146, β [SE] = 1.14 [0.06]); however, we did not observe significant independent effects of MHC class I alleles in LADA.
In LADA, the independent effects of MHC class I observed in type 1 diabetes were not observed after conditioning on the leading MHC class II associations, suggesting that the MHC class I association may be a genetic discriminator between LADA and childhood-onset type 1 diabetes.