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June 2002
Eduardo Garcua-Garcia, MD, Carlos A. Aguilar-Salinas, MD, Teresa Tusie-Luna, MD, PhD and Juan Antonio Rull-Rodrigo, MD

This review summarizes the clinical, metabolic and genetic characteristics of early-onset type 2 diabetes in Mexico. Early-onset type 2 diabetes is both a clinical challenge and a public health problem. It is calculated that almost 300,000 Mexican diabetics are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. The large Mexican family structure and the high prevalence of the disease provide a unique opportunity to identify the genes and the metabolic abnormalities involved in this form of the disease. In a hospital-based population, our group found that insulin deficiency was the main defect in this form of diabetes. Mutations in the HNF-1α or HNF-4α genes or autoimmunity to the beta cell were found in a small proportion of cases, leaving unexplained the majority of cases. Also discussed are the epidemiologic and therapeutic implications of early-onset type 2 diabetes, and the possible role of genetic testing for prevention.

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