Lack of immune responsiveness to bovine serum albumin in insulin-dependent diabetes

The New England Journal of Medicine
Mark A AtkinsonN K Maclaren


Epidemiologic studies have implicated the ingestion of cow's milk in the pathogenesis of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Moreover, in a recent study, 100 percent of patients with new-onset IDDM had antibodies against bovine serum albumin (BSA), with a majority directed against a 17-amino-acid BSA peptide (ABBOS). Cellular immune mechanisms are thought to be the principal mediators of pancreatic beta-cell destruction in IDDM. We measured the responses of peripheral-blood mononuclear cells to BSA and ABBOS or serum IgG anti-BSA antibodies (by particle-concentration fluorescence immunoassay) in 71 patients with IDDM, 55 subjects at various degrees of risk for IDDM, 36 patients with other autoimmune disorders (chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus), and 48 normal subjects. The responses of peripheral-blood mononuclear cells to BSA or ABBOS were positive in 2 of 24 patients with new-onset IDDM, 1 of 25 first-degree relatives of patients with IDDM who were negative for islet-cell antibodies, 2 of 30 first-degree relatives of patients with IDDM who were positive for islet-cell antibodies, 1 of 28 patients with established IDDM, and 1 of 29 normal subjects. Similarly, anti-BS...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Immune System Diseases
Serum albumin, bovine (152-168)
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Peptide Fragments
Autoimmune Diseases
Diabetes Mellitus, Insulin-Dependent
Autoimmune Thyroiditis
Nongranular Leukocyte

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