Antibodies to bovine beta-casein in diabetes and other autoimmune diseases

L. Monetini, M. G. Cavallo, S. Manfrini, L. Stefanini, A. Picarelli, M. Di Tola, A. Petrone, M. Bianchi, M. La Presa, C. Di Giulio, M. G. Baroni, R. Thorpe, B. K. Walker, G. Coppolino, C. A. Mesturino, N. Visalli, M. D. Castelli, A. Crińo, S. Corbi, S. SperaC. Suraci, F. Costantino, A. Suppa, M. Cervoni, G. de Mattia, M. R C Faldetta, M. L M Bitti, A. Cantagallo, M. C. Matteoli, P. Patera, E. Fioriti, D. Pitocco, G. Ghirlanda, P. Pozzilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cow's milk is thought to be an environmental trigger for autoimmune response in Type 1 diabetes. In the present study, our aim was to investigate the antibody response to bovine β-casein in different immune- and non-immune-mediated diseases and to establish whether such an antibody response is specific to Type 1 diabetes. We measured antibodies to bovine β-casein using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in a total of 519 sera from subjects as follows: 71 patients with Type 1 diabetes, 33 patients with coeliac disease, 100 patients with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), 50 patients with autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD), 50 patients with Type 2 diabetes, 24 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), and 3 different groups of controls (n = 191). Significantly increased levels of antibodies to β-casein were found in patients with Type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease and in LADA compared to age-matched controls (p = 0.01, p = 0.02 and p = 0.01, respectively). No differences were observed in β-casein antibody titres between patients with other disease conditions (MS, and ATD) and age-matched controls. The highest antibody response to β-casein in Type 1 diabetic patients and in patients with coeliac disease could reflect the gut mucosal immune disorders common to Type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease. Furthermore, the elevated β-casein antibody levels found in LADA patients suggest that the antibody response to this protein may be relevant in autoimmune diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-459
Number of pages5
JournalHormone and Metabolic Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002


  • β-Casein
  • Antibody
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Cow's Milk
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology


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