Could ZnT8 antibodies replace ICA, GAD, IA2 and insulin antibodies in the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes?

Curr Res Transl Med. 2018 Mar;66(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.retram.2018.01.003. Epub 2018 Feb 24.


Background: The zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) is an islet β-cell secretory granule membrane protein coded by the SLC30A8 gene, identified as a novel autoantigen in human type 1 diabetes (T1D). As no data of ZnT8ab in Algerian patients have been reported, we aim to evaluate the prevalence of ZnT8ab in young Algerians with T1D and determine whether ZnT8ab could be a better diagnostic tool to replace the other conventional autoantibodies detected in patients with type 1 diabetes. For this purpose, we evaluated the prevalence of islets cells antibodies (ICA), glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), islet antigen type 2 (IA2), insulin (IA) autoantibodies (ab) and for the first time in Algeria, the zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) in young Algerian patients with type 1 diabetes.

Patients and methods: In our cross-sectional study, 160 patients between 1 and 35 years old, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes were enrolled. ICAab was analyzed by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF), GADab, IA2ab, IAab and ZnT8ab were analyzed by ELISA, fasting blood glucose was performed by enzymatic method (glucose-oxidase) and HbA1c by turbid metric method.

Results: Our cohort was composed with 74 males and 86 females (OR=1.16); the mean of age was 14.09 [1-35] years old and the median diabetes duration was 4.10 [1-18] years. Our cohort had a mean of HbA1c of 9.22 [5.40-15]%, the mean of birth weight was 3360.52 [2200-4800]g; the mean of BMI was 19.30 [16.04-22.46]kg/m2. Out of 160 patients, 44 (27.5%) were under mother breastfeeding and 116/160 (72.5%) were under artificial feeding. One antibody, at least, was found in 94.38% and the ZnT8ab was significantly more positive in females (70.3%) than in males (10.7%) (***P=8.033×10-15). The concentration of ZnT8ab was higher in females than in males (females=122.25UI/mL versus males=51.38UI/mL; *P=0.03); ICAab, GADab and ZnT8ab were more present in patients with consanguineous parents (***P=0.0002, *P=0.019 and *P=0.03; respectively) CONCLUSION: Our study on ZnT8ab in T1D is the first in the Maghreb region and we observed a prevalence of 46.25%. The positivity of ZnT8ab enabled us to classify in T1DA 50% of diabetics with obvious T1D phenotype and negative routine autoantibodies, thus ZnT8ab is a good tool for differential diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. According to our results, a simultaneous analysis for ZnT8 and IA2 autoantibodies can be a better and efficient diagnosis of type 1A diabetes from the beginning of the disease.

Keywords: Glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies; Insulin autoantibodies; Islet antigen type 2 autoantibodies; Islet cell autoantibodies; Type 1 diabetes; Zinc transporter 8 autoantibodies.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algeria / epidemiology
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insulin Antibodies / analysis
  • Insulin Antibodies / blood*
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Receptor-Like Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases, Class 8 / immunology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Young Adult
  • Zinc Transporter 8 / immunology*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Insulin Antibodies
  • SLC30A8 protein, human
  • Zinc Transporter 8
  • islet cell antibody
  • PTPRN protein, human
  • Receptor-Like Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases, Class 8
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase