Human sera from 51 recent-onset insulin-dependent (type I) diabetic patients and 47 unrelated control subjects were screened for the possible presence of circulating factors reacting with several anti-pancreatic islet monoclonal antibodies (MoAb.ISL) in solid-phase radioimmunoassay methods (the original goal being the detection of anti-idiotypic islet cell antibodies and/or specific islet cell antigen–bearing immune complexes). MoAbs from the parental myeloma cell line and purified immunoglobulins (Igs) from different animal species were controls. Type I diabetic sera showed significantly increased binding to MoAb.ISL-coated wells compared with normal subjects (P < .001). However, the same sera also tended to show a higher binding to the control (non–islet-related) MoAb. Sera from type I diabetic patients also reacted with horse, bovine, pig, rabbit, and goat IgG. Displacement of the binding has been obtained by F(ab′)2 and/or Fc fragments of IgG. Evidence has been obtained regarding a similar reaction with human IgM. All the sera were negative when tested for rheumatoid factor by nephelometry. The circulating antibodies described have been proven to be different from islet cell autoantibodies. An anti-Ig antibody is thus present in the sera of recent-onset diabetic patients and represents an additional immunological phenomenon with possible physiopathological and clinical significance.

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