Who should have genetic testing for maturity-onset diabetes of the young?


Louis H. Philipson, Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, The Kovler Diabetes Center, The University of Chicago, 900 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 606037, USA. Tel.: +1-773-702-9180; E-mail: l-philipson@uchicago.edu


Maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) is a clinically heterogeneous group of monogenic disorders characterized by autosomal dominant inheritance of young-onset, non-insulin-dependent diabetes. The genes involved are important in beta cell development, function and regulation and lead to disorders in glucose sensing and insulin secretion. Heterozygous GCK mutations cause impaired glucokinase activity resulting in stable, mild hyperglycaemia that rarely requires treatment. HNF1A mutations cause a progressive insulin secretory defect that is sensitive to sulphonylureas, most often resulting in improved glycaemic control compared with other diabetes treatment. MODY owing to mutations in the HNF4A gene results in a similar phenotype, including sensitivity to sulphonylurea treatment. HNF1B mutations most frequently cause developmental renal disease (particularly renal cysts) but may also cause MODY in isolation or may cause the renal cysts and diabetes syndrome (RCAD syndrome). Mutations in NEUROD1, PDX1 (IPF1), CEL and INS are rare causes of MODY. MODY is often misdiagnosed as type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, a correct genetic diagnosis impacts treatment and identifies at-risk family members. Thus, it is important to consider a diagnosis of MODY in appropriate individuals and to pursue genetic testing to establish a molecular diagnosis.