Multiple studies of B- and T-cell compartments and their response to stimuli demonstrate alterations in established type 1 diabetes (T1D). Yet it is not known whether these alterations reflect immune mechanisms that initiate islet autoimmunity, promote disease progression, or are secondary to disease. To address these questions, we used samples from the TrialNet Pathway to Prevention study to investigate T-cell responses to interleukin (IL)-2 and regulatory T cell-mediated suppression, the composition of the B-cell compartment, and B-cell responses to B-cell receptor and IL-21 receptor engagement. These studies revealed stage-dependent T- and B-cell functional and immune phenotypes; namely, early features that differentiate autoantibody-positive at-risk first-degree relatives (FDRs) from autoantibody-negative FDRs and persisted through clinical diagnosis; late features that arose at or near T1D diagnosis; and dynamic features that were enhanced early and blunted at later disease stages, indicating evolving responses along the continuum of T1D. We further explored how these specific phenotypes are influenced by therapeutic interventions. Our integrated studies provide unique insights into stable and dynamic stage-specific immune states and define novel immune phenotypes of potential clinical relevance.
© 2019 by the American Diabetes Association.