Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic metabolic disease of unknown etiology that results from β-cell destruction. The onset of the disease, which arises after a long asymptomatic period of autoimmune attack, may be followed by a relapsing and remitting progression, a phenomenon that is most evident during the partial remission phase (PR). This stage lasts for a few months, shows minor requirements of exogenous insulin and could be explained by a recovery of immunological tolerance. This study aims to identify new biomarkers at early stages of pediatric T1D that reflect immunoregulatory changes. To that end, pediatric patients with T1D (n = 52) and age-related control subjects (n = 30) were recruited. Immune response-related molecules and lymphocyte subsets were determined starting at T1D onset and until the second year of progression. Results showed that circulating TGF-β levels decreased during PR, and that betatrophin concentration was increased in all the considered stages without differing among studied checkpoints. Moreover, an increase of regulatory T, B and NK subsets was found during T1D progression, probably reflecting an attempt to restore self-tolerance. By contrast, a reduction in monocyte levels was observed at the early stages of diabetes. The results reveal significant changes in immunological parameters during the different early stages of T1D in children, which could ultimately serve as potential biomarkers to characterize the progression of T1D.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.