Sera from patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) containing islet cell surface antibodies (ICSA) were studied for their capacity to lyse cultured rat islet cells. The uptake of ethidium bromide was used to identify lysed cells and immunofluorescent staining with antisera to insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, or pancreatic polypeptide was used to identify the different islet cell types (B-, A-, D-, and PP-cells, respectively). Our experiments showed that in the presence of complement, sera containing ICSA lysed 81% of the B-cells, but 10% or less of the A-, D-, and PP-cells. Normal control sera resulted in lysis of less than 4% of each of the islet cell types. The demonstration that ICSA are preferentially lytic for B-cells may be important in defining the role of these autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of IDDM, particularly since the B-cell mass in diabetics is markedly reduced relative to the other islet cell types.

This content is only available via PDF.