, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 290-293

High titres of IgA antibodies to enterovirus in fulminant type-1 diabetes

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis

We have recently proposed that fulminant type-1 diabetes is a novel subtype of type-1 diabetes with abrupt onset of insulin-deficient hyperglycaemia without islet-related autoantibodies. The pathogenesis is still unknown, but flu-like symptoms are frequently observed before the onset of disease of this subtype. Enterovirus infection is a candidate environmental factor causing type-1 diabetes. The aim of this study was to determine whether enterovirus infection contributes to the development of fulminant type-1 diabetes.

Methods

We investigated 19 patients with recent-onset fulminant type-1 diabetes, 18 patients with recent-onset typical type-1A diabetes, and 19 healthy controls. IgM, IgG, and IgA subclasses of antibodies to enterovirus were determined by ELISA.

Results

IgA antibody titres to enterovirus were significantly higher in fulminant type-1 diabetes than in typical type-1A diabetes (p=0.033) and controls (p=0.0003). IgM antibodies to enterovirus were not detected in any subject. IgG titres were lower in autoimmune diabetes than fulminant type and controls (p=0.014 and 0.019, respectively).

Conclusions/interpretation

High titres of enterovirus IgA antibodies in serum suggest recurrent enterovirus infection in fulminant type-1 diabetic patients, indicating higher susceptibility to enteroviral infections among them. Such infections might have pathogenetic importance in the triggering of fulminant type-1 diabetes.