Helena Elding Larsson

Helena Elding Larsson

Adjunct Professor

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Pediatric autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes and autoimmune thyroid disease may affect as many as 2-3 % of all children. Genetic factors are associated with these diseases, but environmental factors may trigger the autoimmune process in the genetically susceptible individuals. The nature and role of environmental factors in the disease processes are still to be defined. Vaccine induced narcolepsy has also been suggested an autoimmune disease. However, genetic, immunological factors as well as antigen candidates are still unexplored.

The aims of our research are to identify genetic and immunological risk factors for type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroiditis and narcolepsy, as well as predictive factors for the diseases, and ultimately delay or prevent the disease onset through primary or secondary prevention.

The research is based upon our large prospective population-based studies Diabetes Prediction in Skåne (DiPiS) and The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the young (TEDDY), and large scale screening at birth for high type 1 diabetes risk in teh ASTRID study within the Global Platform for Autoimmune Diabetes (GPPAD). In an number of clinical trials we are aiming to prevent or delay the disease. In the primary prevention studies POInT and SINTIA, children with high genetic risk are given oral inuslin/placebo and probiotics/placebo. In our Diabetes Prevention – Immune Tolerance (DiAPREV-IT), chilren with ongoing autoimmunity has been given GAD-Alum as secondary prevention. Immunological studies are ongoing. In addition, we are investigating predictive factors for diabetes complications, specifically investigating neuropathy.

In our prospective cohorts of children with risk for type 1 diabetes, we are additionally testing for thyroid disease, to be able to investigate overlap and the impact of genetic and environmental exposures to the development of autoimmune thyroiditis.



UKÄ subject classification

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Pediatrics


  • type 1 diabetes
  • autoimmune thyroiditis
  • narcolepsy


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