Chris Hampe, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor
Metabolism, Endocrinology, & Nutrition
Islet Cell Membrane Antibodies in Diabetes
"The goal of this application is a) to investigate anti-idiotypic antibodies (anti-Id) directed to the four major autoantibodies in human Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), and b) to develop anti-Id to selectively deplete autoantigen-reactive B lymphocytes as a novel therapy to prevent T1D.
Anti-Id to a major autoantibody in T1D (GAD65Ab) are found in the majority of healthy individuals. These anti-Id specifically target the antigen-binding site of GAD65Ab and thus block antigen recognition. Anti-Id to another major autoantibody (IAA) have been described previously in both T1D patients and the BB rat – an animal model for T1D- indicating that these idiotypic networks may be of relevance for T1D pathogenesis.
At clinical diagnosis patients with T1D have significantly lower GAD65Ab-specific anti-Id titers as compared to healthy individuals. Moreover, anti-Id activity correlates with beta cell function, as observed in a longitudinal analysis of children with new onset T1D, who experienced a transitional increase in c-peptide levels.
These data strongly suggest that GAD65Ab-specific anti-Id are part of the regulatory immune response to GAD65 and may therefore protect against T1D. Recent findings that injections of NOD mice with a monoclonal anti-Id prevented T1D support this hypothesis of protective anti-Id.
This application will determine when anti-Id activity is lost during development of T1D. Longitudinal samples from progressors and non-progressors will be analyzed for anti-Id to establish whether loss of anti-Id activity in progressors precedes T1D development. Another aim is to determine whether known high-risk and protective HLA genotypes are associated with low and high anti-Id activity, respectively. Such an association would support the hypothesis that HLA risk/protection is mediated in part by anti-Id activity.
Anti-Id are described to have regulatory immune functions. They neutralize autoantibodies, downregulate autoantibody secretion, and induce depletion of antigen-specific B lymphocytes. These characteristics are already employed in the treatment of other autoimmune diseases.
A role of B lymphocytes in T1D has been suggested in animal studies, and the recent Rituximab trial demonstrated that global B lymphocyte depletion has a beneficial effect on the preservation of beta cell function. However global B lymphocyte depletion also eliminates beneficial B lymphocytes and is not a realistic option for the prevention of T1D. To avoid the global depletion of B lymphocytes, autoantigen-Fc fusion proteins will be used as mimetics of anti-Id. These fusion proteins will deplete B lymphocytes that are reactive to all epitopes of the autoantigen, while anti-Id will only target B lymphocytes of a single antibody epitope specificity. Autoantigen-Fc fusion proteins of all four major autoantigens (insulin, GAD65, IA-2, and ZnT8) will be used in this approach. The results from this project will be crucial for the further development of a novel preventative therapy."