Maturation of the humoral autoimmune response to epitopes of GAD in preclinical childhood type 1 diabetes

Ezio Bonifacio, Vito Lampasona, Laura Bernasconi, Anette Gabriele Ziegler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


GAD is a major target of autoimmunity in preclinical type 1 diabetes. Here we examine the maturation of the humoral response to GAD epitopes sequentially from birth to diabetes onset or current follow-up in 29 GAD antibody (GADA)+ offspring of parents with diabetes from the BABYDIAB Study. Antibodies were measured against GAD65, GAD67, and GAD65/67 chimeras by radiobinding assay. In 28 of 29 offspring, the first GADAs contained reactivity against epitopes within GAD65 residues 96-444, suggesting that the middle GAD65 region is a primary target of GAD humoral autoimmunity. In 7 of these 28 offspring, initial antibody reactivity was against all epitope regions tested (middle GAD65, COOH-terminal GAD65 residues 445-585, NH2- terminal GAD65 residues 1-95, and GAD67); in 16 offspring, reactivity was to middle and COOH-terminal GAD65 epitopes, and in 5 offspring, reactivity was only to the middle GAD65 epitopes. The single offspring without middle GAD65 reactivity had antibodies to the NH2-terminal epitopes in the absence of all other islet autoimmunity. Subsequent GADA epitope spreading was frequent and seen in 10 of 15 offspring with informative follow-up samples. Spreading was mostly (eight cases) to NH2-terminal GAD65 epitopes. In two offspring, spreading to new epitopes was found when antibody titers to GAD65 and early epitopes were declining, suggesting determinant-specific regulation of the humoral response. None of the GADA reactivities nor any changes in reactivity over time were specifically associated with diabetes onset. The findings suggest that the humoral autoimmune response to GAD found in childhood is dynamic, is initially against epitopes within the middle portion of GAD65, and spreads to epitopes in other regions of GAD65 and GAD67.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-208
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Maturation of the humoral autoimmune response to epitopes of GAD in preclinical childhood type 1 diabetes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this