Cytoplasmic islet cell antibodies are well-established predictive markers of IDDM. Although target molecules of ICA have been suggested to be gangliosides, human monoclonal ICA of the immunoglobulin G class (MICA 1xyd6) produced from a patient with newly diagnosed IDDM recognized glutamate decarboxylase as a target antigen. Here we analyzed the possible heterogeneity of target antigens of ICA by subtracting the GAD-specific ICA staining from total ICA staining of sera. This was achieved 1) by preabsorption of ICA+ sera with recombinant GAD65 and/or GAD67 expressed in a baculovirus system and 2) by ICA analysis of sera on mouse pancreas, as GAD antibodies do not stain mouse islets in the immunofluorescence test. We show that 24 of 25 sera from newly diagnosed patients with IDDM recognize islet antigens besides GAD. In contrast, GAD was the only islet antigen recognized by ICA from 7 sera from patients with stiff man syndrome. Two of these sera, however, recognized antigens besides GAD in Purkinje cells. In patients with IDDM, non-GAD ICA were diverse. One group, found in 64% of the sera, stained human and mouse islets, whereas the other group of non-GAD ICA was human specific. Therefore, mouse islets distinguish two groups of non-GAD ICA and lack additional target epitopes of ICA besides GAD. Longitudinal analysis of 6 sera from nondiabetic ICA+ individuals revealed that mouse-reactive ICA may appear closer to clinical onset of IDDM in some individuals. Mouse-reactive ICAs, however, remained absent in 36% of the patients at diagnosis of IDDM.

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