To investigate whether type 1 diabetes in man is associated with a preferential Th1/Th2 response, and whether autoantibodies to one of the main autoantigens would reflect such a response, we characterized the immunoglobulin isotype profile to the 65-kDa isoform of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65) in siblings to IDDM patients. Samples obtained from affected subjects before and at clinical onset of IDDM, from unaffected individuals at high risk and at low risk and from healthy controls were studied. The immunoglobulin isotype profile in the siblings at low risk reflected a more immature, i.e., IgM and Th2 like, i.e., IgE response compared to the progressors and siblings at high risk, with significantly higher median levels of IgM and IgE. The rank order of anti-GAD65 immunoglobulin isotypes was similar in the siblings before and at clinical onset of IDDM, IgG1 > IgG4 > IgM > IgE > IgA > IgG3 > IgG2, but markedly different in the individuals at low risk, IgG1 > IgM > IgE > IgG4 > IgG3 > IgA > IgG2. Based on these observations, we suggest that progression to clinical onset of IDDM is associated with a maturation and a decrease in the Th2 immune response against GAD65; findings which could have implications for future intervention and prediction strategies.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.