The ABBOS-peptide from bovine serum albumin causes an IFN-gamma and IL-4 mRNA response in lymphocytes from children with recent onset of type 1 diabetes

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2000 Mar;47(3):199-207. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8227(99)00127-8.


The ABBOS-peptide from bovine serum albumin (BSA) in cow's milk has been suggested to initiate the autoimmune process against the beta-cells leading to type 1 diabetes. The aim of this study was to elucidate if the ABBOS-peptide is a possible trigger of type I diabetes. The cytokines IL-4 and IFN-gamma were determined at the level of transcription as mRNA in lymphocytes, stimulated with the ABBOS-peptide. Sixteen children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes were compared with 10 healthy controls matched for the diabetes associated HLA-type DR3/4. Antibodies to bovine serum albumin (BSA), insulin antibodies (IA), and antibodies against islet cells (ICA) were determined, as well as serum C-peptide. Increased mRNA expression for IFN-gamma and/or IL-4 could be observed in lymphocytes from 13/16 children with recent onset of diabetes after in vitro stimulation with the ABBOS-peptide. Low expression of IFN-gamma mRNA was associated with high secretion of C-peptide, whereas a positive relationship could be observed between expression of IL-4 mRNA and insulin antibodies. Expression of IFN-gamma and/or IL-4 mRNA was also detected in lymphocytes from 6/10 healthy controls. ABBOS may have a role as a reactive epitope in the upregulation of the autoimmune process against the beta-cells but ABBOS does not seem to cause any specific Th1 response. An increased mRNA expression could also be seen in lymphocytes from healthy controls. Thus, the ABBOS-peptide might just cause or reflect an unspecific immune activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Cattle
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Antibodies / blood
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics*
  • Interleukin-4 / blood
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics*
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / blood
  • Reference Values
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / immunology
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / pharmacology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects*


  • Autoantibodies
  • C-Peptide
  • Insulin Antibodies
  • Peptide Fragments
  • RNA, Messenger
  • islet cell antibody
  • serum albumin, bovine (152-168)
  • Interleukin-4
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Interferon-gamma