Intradermal skin test with diabetes specific antigens in patients with type 1 diabetes

A. Crinò, M. G. Cavallo, S. Corbi, C. A. Mesturino, F. Ferrazzoli, G. Coppolino, C. Bizzarri, M. Cervoni, L. Monetini, P. Pozzilli, N. Visalli, R. Buzzetti, C. Parravano, S. Romeo, A. Perciaccante, M. C. Matteoli, S. Spera, C. Teodonio, C. Suraci, G. MultariN. Sulli, A. Cantagallo, G. De Mattia, M. R. Cassone Faldetta, M. L. Manca Bitti, G. Marietti, D. Pitocco, G. Ghirlanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell mediated immune response in vitro to a number of antigens has been reported in patients with Type 1 diabetes. The aim of the present study was to develop an in vivo intradermal (delayed type hypersensitivity) skin test using antigens known to be recognized by lymphocytes of patients with Type 1 diabetes and to compare, where possible, the in vivo response to the in vitro T cell proliferation to the same antigens. The skin test was performed in the following group of patients: 55 with recent onset Type 1 diabetes; 16 patients with Type 1 diabetes of longer duration; 10 patients with autoimmune thyroid disease and 20 patients with Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA). Type 1 diabetes specific antigens for the skin test included glutamic acid decarboxilase (GAD65), insulin and beta casein, whereas diabetes non specific antigens included tetanus toxoid, diphteria, proteus, tubercolin, streptococcus, and glycerol as control. A multitest device consisting of heads delivering intradermally 10 μ1 of solution containing the antigens was applied to the forearms; the specific antigens were injected in one forearm whereas the non specific antigens were injected in the other forearm. Reading of the reaction, which was considered positive in the presence of a nodule of 2 mm diameter was performed 48 h after the multitest application. The in vitro T cell response to diabetes specific antigens used in the multitest was studied using conventional proliferation assays in patients with recent onset Type 1 diabetes and in age matched normal subjects. Only recent onset Type 1 diabetes patients showed an in vivo positive response to GAD65, such response being detectable in 10 patients (18%). Two patients reacted also to beta casein and insulin, all other patient groups resulted negative but 2 patients with longer duration of Type 1 diabetes. There was no apparent link between the in vivo skin test and in vitro T cell proliferation to GAD65. We conclude that in vivo cell mediated immune reaction to GAD65, insulin and beta casein can be visualized in a minority of patients with recent onset Type 1 diabetes. Further studies are required to determine specificity and whether altering the dose can improve the sensitivity of the test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-386
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Beta casein
  • GAD65
  • Insulin
  • Skin test
  • T cells
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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