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Front Immunol. 2019 Sep 13;10:2023. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02023. eCollection 2019.

Systematic Assessment of Immune Marker Variation in Type 1 Diabetes: A Prospective Longitudinal Study.

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Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Seattle, WA, United States.
Novo Nordisk Research Center Inc., Seattle, WA, United States.
Clinical Development, Novo Nordisk A/S, Soborg, Denmark.


Immune analytes have been widely tested in efforts to understand the heterogeneity of disease progression, risk, and therapeutic responses in type 1 diabetes (T1D). The future clinical utility of such analytes as biomarkers depends on their technical and biological variability, as well as their correlation with clinical outcomes. To assess the variability of a panel of 91 immune analytes, we conducted a prospective study of adults with T1D (<3 years from diagnosis), at 9-10 visits over 1 year. Autoantibodies and frequencies of T-cell, natural killer cell, and myeloid subsets were evaluated; autoreactive T-cell frequencies and function were also measured. We calculated an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for each marker, which is a relative measure of between- and within-subject variability. Of the 91 analytes tested, we identified 35 with high between- and low within-subject variability, indicating their potential ability to be used to stratify subjects. We also provide extensive data regarding technical variability for 64 of the 91 analytes. To pilot the concept that ICC can be used to identify analytes that reflect biological outcomes, the association between each immune analyte and C-peptide was also evaluated using partial least squares modeling. CD8 effector memory T-cell (CD8 EM) frequency exhibited a high ICC and a positive correlation with C-peptide, which was also seen in an independent dataset of recent-onset T1D subjects. More work is needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying this relationship. Here we find that there are a limited number of technically reproducible immune analytes that also have a high ICC. We propose the use of ICC to define within- and between-subject variability and measurement of technical variability for future biomarker identification studies. Employing such a method is critical for selection of analytes to be tested in the context of future clinical trials aiming to understand heterogeneity in disease progression and response to therapy.


clinical trials; immune assays; insulin secretion; type 1 diabetes; variability

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