Association of HLA-dependent islet autoimmunity with systemic antibody responses to intestinal commensal bacteria in children

Sci Immunol. 2019 Feb 1;4(32):eaau8125. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aau8125.


Microbiome sequence analyses have suggested that changes in gut bacterial composition are associated with autoimmune disease in humans and animal models. However, little is known of the mechanisms through which the gut microbiota influences autoimmune responses to distant tissues. Here, we evaluated systemic antibody responses against cultured human gut bacterial strains to determine whether observed patterns of anticommensal antibody (ACAb) responses are associated with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in two cohorts of pediatric study participants. In the first cohort, ACAb responses in sera collected from participants within 6 months of T1D diagnosis were compared with age-matched healthy controls and also with patients with recent onset Crohn's disease. ACAb responses against multiple bacterial species discriminated among these three groups. In the second cohort, we asked whether ACAb responses present before diagnosis were associated with later T1D development and with HLA genotype in participants who were discordant for subsequent progression to diabetes. Serum IgG2 antibodies against Roseburia faecis and against a bacterial consortium were associated with future T1D diagnosis in an HLA DR3/DR4 haplotype-dependent manner. These analyses reveal associations between antibody responses to intestinal microbes and HLA-DR genotype and islet autoantibody specificity and with a future diagnosis of T1D. Further, we present a platform to investigate antibacterial antibodies in biological fluids that is applicable to studies of autoimmune diseases and responses to therapeutic interventions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / immunology
  • Antibody Formation / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoimmunity*
  • Child
  • Clostridiales / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Genotype
  • HLA-DR3 Antigen / immunology*
  • HLA-DR4 Antigen / immunology*
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / immunology*
  • Male
  • Prognosis


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Autoantibodies
  • HLA-DR3 Antigen
  • HLA-DR4 Antigen

Supplementary concepts

  • Roseburia faecis