Type 1 diabetes is largely caused by β-cell destruction through anti-islet autoimmunity. Reportedly, interferon (IFN)-γ-secreting peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) specific to four insulin B-chain amino acid 9–23-related peptides (B:9–23rPep) were increased in type 1 diabetes participants. This study aimed to investigate the PBMC frequencies in subtypes of type 1 diabetes using enzyme-linked immunospot assay. In this cross-sectional study, peripheral blood samples were obtained from 148 participants including 72 with acute-onset type 1 diabetes (AT1D), 51 with slowly progressive insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (SPIDDM), and 25 with type 2 diabetes. The frequency of B:9–23rPep-specific IFN-γ-producing PBMCs was significantly higher in AT1D participants than in SPIDDM and type 2 diabetes participants. Meanwhile, a significant inverse correlation was observed between the PMBC frequencies and insulin secretion capacity in SPIDDM participants. These findings suggest that the increased peripheral B:9–23rPep-specific IFN-γ immunoreactivity reflects decreased functional β-cell mass and greater disease activity of type 1 diabetes.
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