Antibodies to islet cell autoantigens, rotaviruses and/or enteroviruses in cord blood and healthy mothers in relation to the 2010-2011 winter viral seasons in Israel: a pilot study

Diabet Med. 2014 Jun;31(6):681-5. doi: 10.1111/dme.12404. Epub 2014 Feb 25.


Aims: To determine whether antivirus and/or islet cell antibodies can be detected in healthy pregnant mothers without diabetes and/or their offspring at birth in two winter viral seasons.

Methods: Maternal and cord blood sera from 107 healthy pregnant women were tested for islet cell autoantibodies using radioligand binding assays and for anti-rotavirus and anti-CoxB3 antibody using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)65 autoantibodies and rotavirus antibodies, present in both maternal and cord blood sera, correlated with an odds ratio of 6.89 (95% CI: 1.01-46.78). For five, 22 and 17 pregnancies, antibodies to GAD65, rotavirus and CoxB3, respectively, were detected in cord blood only and not in the corresponding maternal serum. In 10 pregnancies, rotavirus antibody titres in the cord blood exceeded those in the corresponding maternal serum by 2.5-5-fold. Increased antibody titres after the 20(th) week of gestation suggested CoxB3 infection in one of the 20 pregnancies and rotavirus in another.

Conclusion: The concurrent presence of GAD65 antibodies in cord blood and their mothers may indicate autoimmune damage to islet cells during gestation, possibly caused by cross-placental transmission of viral infections and/or antivirus antibodies. Cord blood antibody titres that exceed those of the corresponding maternal sample by >2.5-fold, or antibody-positive cord blood samples with antibody-negative maternal samples, may imply an active in utero immune response by the fetus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / metabolism
  • Autoantigens / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Enterovirus / immunology
  • Enterovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Enterovirus Infections / transmission
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical
  • Islets of Langerhans / immunology
  • Israel
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / immunology*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / immunology
  • Rotavirus / immunology
  • Rotavirus Infections / immunology*
  • Rotavirus Infections / transmission
  • Seasons
  • Young Adult


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • islet cell antibody