In this article, we report the identification of a new autoantigen in type 1 diabetes originating from the exocrine pancreas. This antigen is a pancreatic enzyme termed bile salt-dependent lipase (BSDL). We show that antibodies present in the sera of newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic patients recognize BSDL and more specifically the COOH-terminal mucin-like region of the protein. Therefore, we engineered the COOH-terminal peptide of BSDL and demonstrated that autoreactivity was linked to specific glycosylation sites by at least two glycosyltransferases: the Core 2 beta(1-6)N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase and the alpha(1-3) fucosyltransferase FUT7. We next examined the prevalence of circulating anti-BSDL antibodies in type 1 diabetic patients and found 73.5% positivity (25 sera among 34 patients tested) at onset, whereas only 8.4% of normal individuals (7 of 83) were positive. Within a cohort of first-degree relatives of diabetic patients followed prospectively until development of diabetes, 6 of 19 (31.6%) were also positive. Interestingly, two prediabetic individuals were already positive for anti-BSDL antibodies (Abs), while islet cell cytoplasmic Abs and antibodies to GAD65, IA-2, and insulin were not detected. Anti-BSDL autoantibodies were weakly or not detected in patients suffering from pancreatitis or pancreatic adenocarcinoma or in patients with Graves' disease. Although autoreactivity to BSDL in prediabetic and newly diagnosed diabetic patients might reflect cross-reactivity, our results strongly suggest that in addition to pancreatic beta-cells, acinar cells may be also affected in type 1 diabetes.

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