It has recently been proposed that the islet 64,000 Mr protein autoantigen (64K) of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) is glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD). We evaluated, by means of a newly developed immunotrapping enzyme activity assay (ITEAA), the prevalence of circulating GAD-autoantibodies (Ab) in a large population of IDDM patients (n = 168), blood donors (n = 87) and non-diabetic autoimmune patients (n = 40). The latter two groups were used as controls. Overall, GAD-Ab were found in 22% of IDDM patients, but in none of the two control groups (P = 0.007). These specificities were invariably associated with islet cell antibodies (ICA) (31.6% in IDDM with ICA vs 0 in IDDM without ICA, P = 0.0001), and this prevalence was higher in sera with high titer ICA (54.5% in IDDM with ICA > 80 JDF-units vs 22.6% of IDDM with ICA 5-80 JDF units; P = 0.002). Moreover, GAD-Ab were associated with the female sex (P = 0.002) and the concomitant presence of thyroid and/or gastric antibodies (P = 0.002). No correlation was observed between GAD-Ab and age of the patients, duration of IDDM, or associated non-organ specific antibodies. Our study indicates that GAD-Ab measured by ITEAA are: (1) detected in a proportion of IDDM patients; (2) strongly associated with ICA; (3) preferentially found in IDDM female patients with autoimmune polyendocrine serology; and (4) detected with lower frequency than that reported for 64K-Ab in IDDM.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy