Anti-ganglioside autoantibodies in type 1 diabetes

Muscle Nerve. 2010 Jan;41(1):50-3. doi: 10.1002/mus.21326.


Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that is accompanied by an immune response against pancreatic cells. As gangliosides are expressed in both peripheral nerves and pancreatic cells, we examined the possibility of correlation between type 1 diabetes, anti-ganglioside autoantibodies, and neuropathy. Fifty diabetic patients and 30 controls with other autoimmune diseases underwent neurological examination and search for antibodies to gangliosides, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD(65)), and tyrosine phosphatase (IA2). Sixteen (32%) diabetic patients had neuropathy. Twelve diabetic sera were found to have anti-ganglioside autoantibodies. Twenty sera were positive for anti-GAD(65) and nine for anti-IA2 antibody. Sera from three control patients had anti-ganglioside autoantibodies. No significant correlation was found between autoantibodies, neuropathy, and disease duration. Disease duration was shorter in patients with antibodies to GAD(65) and IA2 and longer in neuropathic patients. The higher prevalence of antibodies in diabetic patients compared to controls may reflect the common pattern of antigens shared by peripheral nerve and pancreatic islet cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / blood
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Gangliosides / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Islets of Langerhans / immunology
  • Male
  • Neurons / immunology
  • Prognosis
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • Autoantibodies
  • Gangliosides