Early Detection of Long-term Diabetic Complications in Children and Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes

  • End date
    Aug 26, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen
Updated on 26 May 2022
diabetic complications


Aims: To investigate early markers of arterial stiffness and nerve dysfunction and the association to an extended glucose metabolic profile comprising glucose control (current and past), glucose variability and insulin sensitivity in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Background: Most Danish children and adolescents with T1D do not achieve their metabolic target and are at increased risk of developing long-term diabetic complications, reducing their life expectancy and increase their morbidity rate. Hence, improved metabolic control, a better understanding of what optimal metabolic control means, combined with detailed monitoring of the first markers of long-term complications and their reversibility or lack thereof are needed.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 400 children, aged 6-18 years old, with T1D>12 months. Early markers of long-term diabetic complications will be investigated as arterial stiffness, nerve dysfunction and nephropathy. Data on T1D onset, duration, treatment modality, self-monitoring-blood-glucose profiles, growth, weight, and pubertal status will be collected.

Blood sampling will include routine tests and markers of glucose, lipid, bone, and gastrointestinal metabolism. DXA-scan, Fibroscan, bone-age and physical activity will be measured. Data on retrospective glucose- and lipid-profiles will be collected.

Perspectives: This study provides novel insight into the frequency of early markers of long-term diabetic complications and its association to the interplay of the pancreas, adipose, gastrointestinal and bone metabolic axis. Which can assist in identifying subgroups of children and adolescents requiring earlier in-depth screening for early markers of long-term diabetic complications, for putative interventions for prevention, hence reducing morbidity and mortality in T1D.


The project is designed as a cross-sectional cohort study. The study consists of a one-day visit where 400 children and adolescents with T1D will be thoroughly examined after an overnight fast.

The following examinations are parof this study:

  • Standard physical examination: Including cor/pulm/abdomen, heart rate and blood pressure measurement. Data regarding age, sex, diabetes duration, growth, weight, and pubertal status.

Blood sampling

  • Bloodsampling: Include routine tests (hemoglobin and iron metabolites, BS, HbA1c, electrolytes, creatinine, urea, LDL, HDL, triglyceride, total cholesterol), and markers of glucose (insulin, c-peptide), lipid (leptin, adiponectin), bone (VitD, calcium, PTH, phosphate, magnesium, BASP, OCN, P1NP, CTX, uOCN, sclerostine, RANKL, osteoprotegrin and osteoglycin), gastrointestinal (GLP-1, GIP and glucagon) metabolism. IGF-1, IGF-BP3, thyroid metabolism (TSH, T3, free T4), sex hormones, adrenal androgens, aldosterone. Thyroid and celiac disease autoantibodies. Markers for inflammation and endothelial dysfunction will be examined. Plasma, serum and urine will also be collected for a Biobank for future research e.g. for studying metabolomics.
  • Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity: Assessed with the Sphygmocor (AtCor Medical) device to measure arterial stiffness in the large arteries.
  • Evaluation of the nervous system function:
  • Cardiac autonomic neuropathy function will be assessed by the Vagus device.
  • Large sensory nerve function test assessed by sural nerve conduction velocity and sural nerve amplitude, measured with the non-invasive handheld device DPNCheckTM (NeuroMetrix, Inc., Waltham, USA).
  • Small sympathetic nerve fiber function assessed by electrochemical skin conductance assessed using the non- invasive device Sudoscan™ (Impeto Medical, Paris, France).
  • Kidney: Three morning urine samples will be collected at home for analyses of albumin/creatinine ratio.
  • Bone age Measured on an x-ray of the left hand using BoneXpert software to adjust for potentially biological age.
  • Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scan: Performed to evaluate body composition and bone mineral density.
  • Fibroscan: To determine the stiffness of the liver (liver elastography).
  • Continuous blood glucose monitoring (CGM) Evaluation of glucose variability for at least 14 days. Most children and adolescent at our outpatient clinics use these as part of their regular regulation and treatment. If the participant normally uses a CGM-device, data on blood glucose variation from the past 90 days will be collected. If not a CGM-monitor will be placed on the upper arm and the participants will be instructed to wear it for the next 14 days.
  • Actigraph Physical activity for 7 days will be measured. Questionnaire Physical activity, Life quality

Medical history/journals Diabetes duration, treatment modality, insulin dosage, previous medication, episodes of diabetic ketoacidosis and hypoglycemia.

All earlier blood samples on: Hba1c, HDL, LDL, cholesterol. All earlier blood pressure, heart rate, weight, height, abdominal and hip circumference. Diabetic complication status: nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy or vascular complications. Data on current and prior asthma, atopy and eczema will be collected. Family history of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and atopy will be collected.

Insulin sensitivity Calculated using a validated score based upon Hba1c, waist circumference, fasting glucose and fasting insulin.

Participants will be recruited from the Paediatric Diabetes outpatient clinic at Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen (SDCC). All examinations and tests will be performed at Herlev Paediatric Department and at SDCC. All children aged 6-18 years, with T1D for more than 12 months will be offered to participate. With a total of 950 T1D children/adolescent followed yearly at SDCC the planned number of participants is realistic.

Statistics The methods applied to measure early markers of long-term diabetic complications both regarding arterial stiffness and the nerve system are all continuous parameters and no definitive cut offs between normal and early changes in children and adolescent are known. Therefore, sample size calculation for this study is not possible.

As described earlier, the SEARCH-study (7, 22) included some of the same outcome for evaluating cardiovascular-, nephrotic- and nerve system complications and showed statistically significant results with a number of 289 adolescents with T1D. We plan to include 400 children and adolescent with T1D in this study.

For descriptive data we will report frequency, mean (standard deviation) or median (interquartile range), as appropriate. Comparisons between relevant groups will be done for means with t-tests and medians with Mann-Whitney U-tests.

Linear regression models will be applied to assess the cross-sectional associations. Univariate and multivariable models will be used; adjustment will include risk factors and confounders based on prior evidence. In all analyses, model assumptions will be ascertained.

A two-sided p-value < 0.05 is considered statistically significant.

Condition Diabetes Complications, type1diabetes, Children, Only, Diabetic Neuropathies, Arterial Stiffness
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05159856
SponsorSteno Diabetes Center Copenhagen
Last Modified on26 May 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

T1D>12 months
-18 years old prior to inclusion
Followed at the Pediatric Diabetes outpatient clinic at Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen
Speaks and reads Danish well enough to understanding the given oral and written information
There is a written consent from the guardianship holder/holders for the child

Exclusion Criteria

T1D < 12 months
Known cardiovascular disease
Antihypertensive treatment
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