Type 1 diabetes is associated with T-cell responses to β-cell antigens such as GAD65. Single T-cell epitopes have been investigated for immune monitoring with some success, but multiple epitopes may be required to fully characterize responses in all subjects. We used a systematic approach to examine the diversity of the GAD65-specific T-cell repertoire in subjects with DRB1*04:01 haplotypes. Using class II tetramers, we observed responses to 15 GAD65 epitopes, including five novel epitopes. The majority were confirmed to be processed and presented. Upon stimulation with peptides, GAD-specific responses were equally broad in subjects with diabetes and healthy controls in the presence or absence of CD25(+) T cells, suggesting that a susceptible HLA is sufficient to generate a potentially autoreactive repertoire. Without depleting CD25(+) cells, GAD(113-132) and GAD(265-284) responses were significantly stronger in subjects with diabetes. Although nearly every individual responded to at least one GAD65 epitope, most were seen in less than half of the subjects tested, suggesting that multiple epitopes are recommended for immune monitoring.
© 2012 The Authors. Immunology © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.