In type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) p53 pathways are up-regulated and there is an increased susceptibility to apoptosis. The hypothesis is that p53 codon 72 polymorphism could be associated with T1D. A total of 286 children with T1D and a control sample of 730 subjects were studied. p53 codon 72 polymorphism was analysed by polymerase chain reaction. A large increase of p53 *Arg/*Arg was observed in T1D patients with age at onset <6 years. A strong linear correlation between *Arg/*Arg genotype and age at onset was observed in females. The involvement of the *Arg/*Arg genotype in apoptosis suggests that during the autoimmune process leading to T1D, genetic factors that favor apoptosis may contribute to the onset of overt disease.
©2011 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston