We addressed the question of whether newly diagnosed type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus patients showed an increased number of DR (la+) T-lymphocytes compared with nondiabetic siblings and normal control subjects. Two-color flow cytometry measurements of peripheral-blood lymphocytes showed a slight but statistically significant increase in DR+ T-lymphocytes in diabetic subjects as well as the nondiabetic sibling control compared with the normal control subjects. This difference was not present in long-term—diabetic subjects. Thus, in addition to minor changes in this lymphocyte subset in peripheral blood, the sibling data demonstrate a lack of specificity for the disease; therefore, these measurements are probably of limited diagnostic usefulness.

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