Context: The previously reported absence of 65-kDa glutamate decarboxylase antibody (GAD65Ab)-specific antiidiotypic antibodies (anti-Id) in type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients at clinical onset could be due to an inability to mount an antibody response to GAD65Ab or a longitudinal decline in anti-Id levels.
Objective and design: We investigated anti-Id levels in longitudinal samples obtained from T1D patients (n = 41) (clinical diagnosis - 12 months), and latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) patients (n = 32) who received alum-formulated human recombinant GAD65 (baseline - 12 months). We also determined anti-Id levels in a small cohort of Type 2 diabetes patients during their development of autoimmune T cell responses.
Results: At clinical onset T1D patients presented no or low anti-Id levels. However, 22/41 T1D patients showed ≥50% increase in GAD65Ab-specific anti-Id levels during follow-up; peaking at 3 (n = 1), 6 (n = 10), 9 (n = 10), or 12 (n = 1) months. Increasing anti-Id levels marked patients who experienced a temporary increase in C-peptide levels. Anti-Id levels correlated significantly with glycated hemoglobin and C-peptide levels at 6 and 9 months (P values ranged from <0.001 to <0.05). In LADA patients receiving placebo, anti-Id levels declined in seven of nine patients, whereas four of five patients receiving 20 μg alum-formulated human recombinant GAD65 showed increasing anti-Id levels. Changes in anti-Id and C-peptide levels closely correlated (P < 0.0001). The significant decline in anti-Id levels (P = 0.03) in T2D patients developing T cell autoimmune responses supports our hypothesis that declining anti-Id levels are associated with developing islet autoimmunity.
Conclusions: The close association between GAD65Ab-specific anti-Id levels and β-cell function may provide a novel marker for the progression of autoimmune diabetes.