Celiac.com 09/24/2009 - Could a reduced level of antibodies against infectious agents indicate a protective role for such infections in T1DM development in susceptible individuals? Recent research points in that direction. Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is an autoimmune disease with intricate and poorly understood associations between genetic and environmental factors.
A joint Israeli-Colombian research team recently set out to examine the connections between anti-infectious antibodies and autoimmune-associated autoantibodies in patients with Type I diabetes mellitus and their close family members. Among other things, their findings confirmed a strong association between celiac disease and Type 1 diabetes mellitus.
The research team was made up of Ilan Krause, Juan Manuel Anaya, Abigail Fraser, Ori Barzilai, Maya Ram, Verónica Abad, Alvaro Arango, Jorge García, and Yehuda Shoenfeld. The team compared levels of antibodies to numerous infectious agents and of autoimmune-associated antibodies between Colombian T1DM patients, their close family members and healthy control subjects.
T1DM patients showed substantially reduced levels of antibodies against several infectious agents, including: cytomegalovirus (P= 0.001); Epstein-Barr virus (P= 0.02); Helicobacter pylori (P= 0.01); and Toxoplasma (P= 0.001).
T1DM patients showed markedly elevated levels of IgG-anti-gliadin antibodies (P= 0.001) and IgG-antitissue transglutaminase antibodies (P= 0.03), and a marginal connection with anti-centromere antibodies (P= 0.06).
T1DM patients also showed a reduced level of antibodies against infectious agents that may be associated with their younger ages, but could also indicate a protective role for such infections in T1DM development in susceptible individuals.
The results reinforce the connection between T1DM and celiac disease, though the
possible connection with the anti-centromere antibody requires a deeper examination.
Studies like this are important to help build a record of all of the points of contact between these associated conditions so we can begin to understand the intricate web that ties these conditions together, and inch toward the deeper causes that lie at the heart of the mystery of celiac disease, diabetes, and so many other auto-immune/inflammatory disorders.