JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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A monoclonal antibody-based characterization of autoantibodies against glutamic acid decarboxylase in adults with latent autoimmune diabetes.

Autoantibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) are an important marker of the autoimmune-mediated beta-cell destruction in insulin-dependent (Type I) diabetes. However, these autoantibodies are also found in patients with Stiff-man syndrome (SMS) without onset of diabetes and some diabetic patients who initially present as non-insulin dependent (Type II) diabetes later becoming insulin-dependent, called as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). To study the immune response to GAD in these LADA patients a competitive radiobinding assay based on murine monoclonal antibodies recognizing three different GAD regions was performed. The monoclonal antibodies against GAD recognize two different linear epitopes localized at the N- (amino acids 4-17) and C-terminus (amino acids 572-585) and one conformation-dependent epitope region (amino acids 221-442 IDDM-E1) known to be immunodominant for diabetes-associated autoantibodies. All LADA sera (20/20) reduced substantially the 125I-GAD binding of the monoclonal antibodies reactive with the conformation-dependent epitope region IDDM-E1 and only 20% of these sera additionally diminished the 125I-GAD65 binding by those monoclonals reactive with the both linear epitopes. The SMS sera completely abolished the GAD binding of all three monoclonals, reflecting a broader repertoire including an immune response against the IDDM-E1, a conformation-dependent GAD65 epitope region, also revealed if the SMS sera are diluted to equivalent antibody concentrations. In summary, our results show that diabetes-associated GAD autoantibodies even in adult patients with a late autoimmune process preferentially recognize a conformation-dependent middle GAD65 region. An immune response to all three GAD epitope regions is seldom in these LADA patients and only detectable in association with high antibody titres.

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