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Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1998 Mar;39(3):173-83.

Islet cell surface antibodies (ICSA) do bind to human pancreas: computerised, quantitative determination of ICSA using both pre- and postembedding immunocolloidal techniques.

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  • 1Department of Health and Environment, Link√∂ping University Hospital, Sweden.


Islet cell surface antibodies (ICSA) have been demonstrated significantly more often in serum of patients with IDDM and their relatives than in healthy controls, but some investigators have been unable to show binding to human islets. It has therefore been suggested that ICSA is an artefact. We have localised and quantified ICSA binding to different specimens, including human pancreas. ICSA-positive and ICSA-negative patients' serum, determined by a RIA-method, were incubated with ultrathin sections of rat insulinoma (RIN5AH) cells, stained with Goat-anti-human IgG conjugated with 10 nm gold particles. Sections were viewed in transmission electron microscopy (Mag. 30,000 x) and image analyses was used to calculate immunolabelling. To test cell specificity we used (RIN5AH-cells, rat tumour cells producing growth hormone (GH3), normal human pancreas, human insulinoma, and mice liver). Sections showed good morphology. ICSA-positive sera, with or without islet cell antibodies (ICA) gave always higher immunocolloidal labelling then ICSA-negative sera on RIN5AH sections. Thus, the colloidal gold technique could confirm the ICSA results determined with RIA. Immunolabelling was pronounced on normal human pancreas and human insulinoma cells, but none was found on GH3-cells or mice liver cells. ICSA is not an artefact but do exist and bind to human islet cells and therefore maybe can be used as a marker for IDDM immunity.

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