Maternal family history of diabetes is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in women with type 2 diabetes: the Fremantle Diabetes Study.
To investigate whether parental family history of diabetes influences cardiovascular outcomes in type 2 diabetes. We studied 1,294 type 2 diabetic patients (mean age 64.1 years, 51.2% female) recruited to a community-based cohort study from 1993 to 1996 and followed until mid-2006. A data linkage system assessed all-cause and cardiac mortality, incident myocardial infarction, and stroke. Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to determine the influence of maternal or paternal family history on these outcomes. A maternal family history of diabetes was reported by 20.4% of the cohort, 8.3% reported paternal family history, and 2.0% reported both parents affected. Maternal and paternal family history was associated with earlier age of diabetes onset, and maternal family history was associated with worse glycemic control. For all patients, maternal family history was significantly associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality and cardiac mortality. When analyzed by sex, maternal family history had no effect on male patients, whereas female patients with diabetic mothers had significantly reduced hazard ratios for death from all causes (0.63 [95% CI 0.41-0.96]; P = 0.033), for death from cardiac causes (0.32 [0.14-0.72]; P = 0.006), and for first myocardial infarction (0.45 [0.26-0.76]; P = 0.003). Paternal family history status was not associated with these outcomes. A maternal family history of diabetes confers relative protection against cardiovascular disease in female patients but not in male patients with type 2 diabetes. Paternal family history is associated with risks equivalent to those without a family history of diabetes. Some of the clinical heterogeneity of type 2 diabetes is related to maternal transmission effects with differential impact on male and female patients.