Author(s): Schloot NC, Roep BO, Wegmann DR, Yu L, Wang TB,
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Abstract GAD65 is one of the major autoantigens associated with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). The two peptides p17 and p18 of GAD65 that share sequence similarity with coxsackie virus (amino acid sequence identity: PEVKEK) appeared to be the major determinants of GAD65 recognized preferably by T cells from new-onset IDDM patients and their first degree relatives. In contrast, in our study unrelated control subjects frequently recognized the two GAD peptides (55\%, 16/29), similar to first degree relatives (41\%, 12/29) and IDDM patients post-onset (68\%, 15/22). However, recent-onset IDDM patients, responded less frequently (25\%, 4/16) compared with IDDM patients post-onset (p < 0.03) or unrelated control subjects (borderline significant) confirming previous observations in humans and NOD mice that T-cell reactivity to GADp17/p18 at diabetes onset is decreased. Moreover, this study demonstrated a positive correlation of T-cell proliferation to GAD p17 (amino acid 247-266) and p18 (amino acid 260-279) with simultaneous responses to both peptides in 13\% of all subjects tested (n = 97) (p < 0.001). T-cell proliferation to GAD p17 was higher than to p18 in recent-onset diabetic patients, first degree relatives and unrelated control subjects (p < 0.02, p < 0.004, p < 0.002, respectively). However, in post-onset IDDM patients, the two peptides were recognized equally well. Our results show that T-cell reactivity to GAD65, peptides homologous with coxsackie protein is very frequently observed, but not primarily associated with IDDM. The temporary decline of T-cell proliferation is not associated with the beta-cell destruction process, but with clinical manifestation. The positive correlation of reactivity to the two peptides in the viral motif implicates that PEVKEK is an immunogenic epitope.
This article was published in Diabetologia
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology