University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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High titers of autoantibodies to glutamate decarboxylase in Type-I diabetes patients: epitope analysis and inhibition of enzyme activity


Hampe CS, Maitland ME, Gilliam LK, Thi Phan T-H, Sweet IR, Radtke JR, Bota1 V, Ransom BR, Hirsch IB



Publication Info:

Endocrine Practice, 19(4):663-668


OBJECTIVE: Autoantibodies to glutamate decarboxylase (GAD65Ab) are found in patients with autoimmune neurological disorders or type 1 diabetes. The correct diagnosis of GAD65Ab-associated neurological disorders is often delayed by the variability of symptoms and a lack of diagnostic markers. We hypothesized that the frequency of neurological disorders with high GAD65Ab titers is significantly higher than currently recognized. METHODS: We analyzed GAD65Ab titer, GAD65 enzyme activity inhibition, and GAD65Ab epitope pattern in a cohort of type 1 diabetes patients (n = 100) and correlated our findings with neurological symptoms and diseases. RESULTS: Overall, 43% (43/100) of patients had detectable GAD65Ab titers (median = 400 U/mL, range: 142-250,000 U/mL). The GAD65Ab titers in 10 type 1 diabetes patients exceeded the 90th percentile of the cohort (2,000-250,000 U/mL). Sera of these 10 patients were analyzed for their GAD65Ab epitope specificity and their ability to inhibit GAD65 enzyme activity in vitro. GAD65Ab of 5 patients inhibited the enzyme activity significantly (by 34-55%). Three patients complained of muscle stiffness and pain, which was documented in 2 of these patients. CONCLUSIONS: Based on our findings, we suggest that neurological disorders with high GAD65Ab titers are more frequent in type 1 diabetes patients than currently recognized.

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