This study examined the effect of various extracellular glucose concentrations on the expression of a previously described 64,000-Mr islet cell autoantigen associated with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The protein was precipitated from patient serums incubated with Triton X-100 lysates of [35S]methioninelabeled rat pancreatic islets that had been cultured in 5, 11, or 28 mM glucose for 6 h or 3 days. In both types of experiment, 28 mM glucose was the most efficient stimulator of 64,000-Mr autoantigen production. In contrast, the class I antigens of the major histocompatibility complex, precipitated by a rabbit polyclonal antiserum, were not influenced by differences in glucose concentrations. Our data indicate that expression of islet cell antigens may be increased during the course of hyperglycemia and suggest that the functional activity of islet cells influences their antigenicity.

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