Human type 1 diabetes is associated with T cell autoimmunity to zinc transporter 8.

Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.36). 04/2011; 186(10):6056-63. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003815
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recently we demonstrated that zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) is a major target of autoantibodies in human type 1 diabetes (T1D). Because the molecules recognized by T1D autoantibodies are typically also targets of autoreactive T cells, we reasoned that this would likely be the case for ZnT8. To test this hypothesis, IFN-γ-producing T cells specific for ZnT8 in the peripheral blood of 35 patients with T1D (<6 mo after onset at blood draw) and 41 age-matched controls were assayed by ELISPOT using a library of 23 overlapping dipeptide pools covering the entire 369 aa primary sequence. Consistent with our hypothesis, patients showed significantly higher T cell reactivity than the matched controls, manifest in terms of the breadth of the overall response and the magnitude of responses to individual pools. Therefore, the median number of pools giving positive responses (stimulation index ≥ 3) in the control group was 1.0 (range, 0-7) compared with 6.0 (range, 1-20; p < 0.0001) for the patients. Similarly, the median stimulation index of positive responses in controls was 3.1 versus 5.0 in the patients (p < 0.0001). Individually, 7 of 23 pools showed significant disease association (p < 0.001), with several of the component peptides binding the disease associated HLA-DR3 (0301) and -DR4 (0401) molecules in vitro. We conclude that ZnT8 is also a major target of disease-associated autoreactive T cells in human T1D, and we suggest that reagents that target ZnT8-specific T cells could have therapeutic potential in preventing or arresting the progression of this disease.

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