Relation between cellular and humoral immunity to islet cell antigens in type 1 diabetes

J Autoimmun. 1996 Jun;9(3):427-30. doi: 10.1006/jaut.1996.0059.


The autoimmune disease insulin-dependent diabetes is thought to result from T-cell mediated destruction of pancreatic beta cells. We analysed the relation between humoral and cellular immunity to multiple islet cell antigens, including human insulin, glutamate decarboxylase GAD65, tyrosine phosphatase (ICA512/IA2), human pancreas and RIN cells in 28 patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes and 9 antibody-positive (Ab+) relatives at high risk for type 1 diabetes. Of newly diagnosed patients, all showed reactivity to at least one recombinant islet cell antigen, by elevated cellular or humoral (or both) immune responses. Fifty-seven percent of patients and relatives showed T-cell reactivity to more than one islet cell antigen and 68% revealed humoral immunity to more than one islet cell antigen. Increased T-cell response to one single islet cell antigen was observed in 32% and positive antibody response in 25% of diabetic patients and relatives. Further-more, we found that T-cell reactivity to GAD was associated with T-cell reactivity to RIN cells, whereas reactivity to ICA512 and insulin was not associated with any other T-cell response. Likewise, antibody response to ICA512/IA2 correlated with antibodies to human pancreas (ICA), whereas antibody response to GAD or insulin was not related to any other antibody response. No positive or inverse correlation, however, was detected between T cell and humoral immunity, except for a positive association of antibodies and T-cell reactivity to insulin. Our data suggest that both humoral and cellular immune reactivity to multiple islet cell antigens are present in patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes and in high risk relatives, but the two immune responses are individually activated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibody Formation
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Insulin / immunology
  • Islets of Langerhans / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 1
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Insulin
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 1
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase