Children's erythrocyte fatty acids are associated with the risk of islet autoimmunity.


Niinistö S(1), Erlund I(2), Lee HS(3), Uusitalo U(3), Salminen I(2), Aronsson CA(4), Parikh HM(3), Liu X(3), Hummel S(5), Toppari J(6), She JX(3), Lernmark Å(4), Ziegler AG(5), Rewers M(7), Akolkar B(8), Krischer JP(3), Galas D(9), Das S(9), Sakhanenko N(9), Rich SS(10), Hagopian W(9), Norris JM(11), Virtanen SM(12)(13)(14); TEDDY Study Group.
Author information:
(1)Health and Well-Being Promotion Unit, Public Health and Welfare Department, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271, Helsinki, Finland. [Email]
(2)Department of Government Services, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland.
(3)Health Informatics Institute, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, USA.
(4)Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, CRC, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden.
(5)Institute of Diabetes Research, Helmholtz Zentrum München and Forschergruppe Diabetes, Klinikum Rechts Der Isar, Technische Universität München and Forschergruppe Diabetes e.V., Munich, Germany.
(6)Department of Physiology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
(7)Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, USA.
(8)National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
(9)Pacific Northwest Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA.
(10)University of Virginia School of Medicine, Virginia, USA.
(11)Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, USA.
(12)Health and Well-Being Promotion Unit, Public Health and Welfare Department, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271, Helsinki, Finland.
(13)Faculty of Social Sciences/Health Sciences, Tampere University and Center for Child Health Research, Tampere University and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
(14)The Science Center of Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Tampere, Finland.


Our aim was to investigate the associations between erythrocyte fatty acids and the risk of islet autoimmunity in children. The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young Study (TEDDY) is a longitudinal cohort study of children at high genetic risk for type 1 diabetes (n = 8676) born between 2004 and 2010 in the U.S., Finland, Sweden, and Germany. A nested case-control design comprised 398 cases with islet autoimmunity and 1178 sero-negative controls matched for clinical site, family history, and gender. Fatty acids composition was measured in erythrocytes collected at the age of 3, 6, and 12 months and then annually up to 6 years of age. Conditional logistic regression models were adjusted for HLA risk genotype, ancestry, and weight z-score. Higher eicosapentaenoic and docosapentaenoic acid (n - 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) levels during infancy and conjugated linoleic acid after infancy were associated with a lower risk of islet autoimmunity. Furthermore, higher levels of some even-chain saturated (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) were associated with increased risk. Fatty acid status in early life may signal the risk for islet autoimmunity, especially n - 3 fatty acids may be protective, while increased levels of some SFAs and MUFAs may precede islet autoimmunity.