Decreased HLA-DQ expression on peripheral blood cells in children with varying number of beta cell autoantibodies

J Transl Autoimmun. 2020 Apr 9;3:100052. doi: 10.1016/j.jtauto.2020.100052. eCollection 2020.


The risk for type 1 diabetes is strongly associated with HLA-DQ and the appearance of beta cell autoantibodies against either insulin, glutamate decarboxylase (GAD65), insulinoma-associated protein-2 (IA-2), or zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8). Prolonged exposure to autoantibodies may be related to T cell exhaustion known to occur in chronic infections or autoimmune disorders. It was hypothesized that autoantibody exposure may affect HLA-DQ expression on peripheral blood cells and thereby contribute to T cell exhaustion thought to be associated with the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. The aim of this study was to determine whether autoantibody exposure as an expression of autoimmunity burden was related to peripheral blood cell HLA-DQ cell surface expression in either 1) a cross-sectional analysis or 2) cumulative as area under the trajectory of autoantibodies during long term follow-up in the Diabetes Prediction in Skåne (DiPiS) study. Children (n = 67), aged 10-15 years were analyzed for complete blood count, HLA-DQ cell surface median fluorescence intensity (MFI), autoantibody frequency, and HLA genotypes by Next Generation Sequencing. Decreased HLA-DQ cell surface MFI with an increasing number of autoantibodies was observed in CD16+, CD14+CD16-, CD4+ and CD8+ cells but not in CD19+ cells and neutrophils. HLA-DQ cell surface MFI was associated with HLA-DQ2/8 in CD4+ T cells, marginally in CD14+CD16- monocytes and CD8+ T cells. These associations appeared to be related to autoimmunity burden. The results suggest that HLA-DQ cell surface expression was related to HLA and autoimmunity burden.

Keywords: Autoantibodies; Autoimmunity; Cell surface imunofluorescence; Human Leukocyte antigen; Type 1 diabetes.