To detect serum antibodies to GAD in subjects with IDDM, three recombinant mBGAD 67 peptides encompassing the full-length protein were used in an ELISA. In this study 7 of 9 (78%) preclinical IDDM subjects (ICA+ first-degree relatives of a person with IDDM) and 6 of 13 (46%) recent-onset IDDM subjects, but no subjects with Graves' disease (n = 10) or scleroderma (n = 10), nor healthy nondiabetic control subjects (n = 10) had antibodies that reacted with one or more of the recombinant mBGAD peptides. We found no preferential reactivity with any recombinant peptide. Although only 3 preclinical subjects and 1 recent-onset subject had antibodies to all three mBGAD peptides, the results indicate that mBGAD 67 contains at least three B-cell autoepitopes. Compared with an immunoprecipitation assay of native human brain GAD, the ELISA detected 5 of 6 (83%) preclinical and 6 of 6 (100%) recent-onset IDDM subjects. The ELISA should facilitate screening to evaluate the role of autoimmunity to GAD in the development of IDDM.

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