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Immunol Lett. 1995 Sep;47(3):209-13.

Abnormal lymphocyte subsets in Kuwaiti patients with type-1 insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and their first-degree relatives.

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Department of Medical Laboratory Technology, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences and Nursing, Kuwait University, Kuwait.


Circulating lymphocyte subset imbalance is associated with type-1 insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). To examine the imbalance in these immunoregulatory cells in Kuwaitis with type-1 diabetes and their first-degree relatives we analysed T-lymphocyte subsets and HLA-DR expression (activation) in 18 IDDM patients with a family history of IDDM and 18 non-diabetic first-degree relatives of the IDDM patients. Both IDDM patients and their first-degree relatives showed a mild lymphopenia. Total T lymphocytes, CD3+ cells, in IDDM patients and their first-degree relatives were reduced compared to control subjects (P < 0.001). Total B lymphocytes, CD19+ cells, was increased in IDDM patients (P = 0.001), but was comparable to controls in IDDM patients' first-degree relatives. No quantitative abnormality was demonstrated in CD4+ cells in IDDM patients; however, these cells were higher in their first-degree relatives (P = 0.0089). Suppressor T lymphocytes, CD8+ cells, in first-degree relatives and controls were not significantly different; however, these cells were significantly reduced in IDDM patients (P = 0.001). The ratio of CD4+/CD8+ cells was higher in IDDM patients and their first-degree relatives compared to controls (P = 0.0007 and 0.0103, respectively). Activated T lymphocytes, HLA-DR+ CD3+ cells, were significantly increased in IDDM patients and their first-degree relatives. HLA-DR3 was the most common antigen found in IDDM patients (77% vs. 20% in controls, P = 0.00021). The second most common antigen was HLA-DR4 (55% vs. 24% in controls, P = 0.0566). However, no relationship was found in the levels of CD3+, CD4+ or CD8+ cells in patients possessing either DR3 or DR4. These results suggest that T-lymphocyte subset imbalance not only characterizes the cellular autoimmunity in the pathogenesis of IDDM but may also be significant in early pre-diabetic stages in those with a family history of IDDM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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