Altered natural killer (NK) cell frequency and phenotype in latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) prior to insulin deficiency.

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Abstract

Summary Approximately 10% of the patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (T2D) have detectable serum levels of glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 autoantibodies (GADA). These patients usually progress to insulin dependency within a few years, and are classified as being latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). A decrease in the frequency of peripheral blood natural killer (NK) cells has been reported recently in recent-onset T1D and in high-risk individuals prior to the clinical onset. As NK cells in LADA patients have been investigated scarcely, the aim of this study was to use multicolour flow cytometry to define possible deficiencies or abnormalities in the frequency or activation state of NK cells in LADA patients prior to insulin dependency. All patients were GADA-positive and metabolically compensated, but none were insulin-dependent at the time blood samples were taken. LADA patients exhibited a significant decrease in NK cell frequency in peripheral blood compared to healthy individuals (P = 0.0018), as reported previously for recent-onset T1D patients. Interestingly, NKG2D expression was increased significantly (P < 0.0001), whereas killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)3DL1 expression was decreased (P < 0.0001) within the NK cell population. These observations highlight a defect in both frequency and activation status of NK cells in LADA patients and suggest that this immunological alteration may contribute to the development of autoimmune diabetes by affecting peripheral tolerance. Indeed, recent evidence has demonstrated a regulatory function for NK cells in autoimmunity. Moreover, the decrease in NK cell number concords with observations obtained in recent-onset T1D, implying that similar immunological dysfunctions may contribute to the progression of both LADA and T1D.

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  • Immunology in the medical area
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
VolumeMay 4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Unit on Vascular Diabetic Complications (013241510), Diabetes and Celiac Unit (013241540), Cellular Autoimmunity Unit (013241520)