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  • Author: Rubén F Iacono x
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Alicia I Cardoso, Andrea S Llera, Rubén F Iacono, Horacio M Domené, Alicia S Martínez, Juan J Heinrich, Clara Peña and Edgardo Poskus

The existence of homologous anti-human growth hormone (anti-hGH) and heterologous anti-bovine growth hormone (anti-bGH) humoral immune responses in hypopituitary patients under hGH therapy has been reported previously. In order to study the influence of the hormone source, both responses were compared by radiobinding assays performed with [125I]hGH or [125I]bGH as tracers. Fifty-seven hypopituitary patients treated with extractive hGH, recombinant methionyl hGH or authentic recombinant hGH were studied. A very low incidence of heterologous antibodies was found in patients under recombinant hGH therapy, contrary to the high incidence observed in patients treated with extractive hGH preparations. In addition, immunochemical studies performed with a synthetic peptide (hGH 44–128) indicated that this peptide exhibited, in the anti-bGH/[125]bGH radioimmunoassay system, higher reactivity than the native hGH, suggesting that such a fragment resembled an altered conformation of the hormone. The high heterologous response elicited only by the extractive hGH along with the behaviour of the hGH 44–128 fragment supports the fact that the extraction and purification procedures in extractive preparations may alter slightly the structure of the hGH molecule and trigger a heterologous immune response.

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Natalia I Faccinetti, Luciano L Guerra, Alberto Penas Steinhardt, Ruben F Iacono, Gustavo D Frechtel, Liliana Trifone, Edgardo Poskus, Aldana Trabucchi and Silvina N Valdez

Objective

In order to gain further knowledge of the structure of zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) epitopes, we studied the role of the amino acid at position 325 in the antigen and its dimeric conformation for autoantibodies to ZnT8 (ZnT8A) recognition.

Methods

For this purpose, several ZnT8 C-terminal domain variants were designed: monomer carrying Arg325 or Trp325, homo-dimers ZnT8-Arg–Arg325 and ZnT8-Trp–Trp325, and hetero-dimer ZnT8-Arg–Trp325. Two groups of Argentinian diabetic patients were subjected to analysis using [35S]-ZnT8 variants by radioligand binding assay (RBA): i) 100 new-onset, insulin-dependent, type 1 diabetic patients and ii) 282 slowly progressing to insulin requirement, non-obese adult-onset diabetic patients. In addition, 50 type 1 diabetic patients and 100 normal control sera provided by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) were evaluated in order to calculate the sensitivity and specificity of ZnT8A assays for each antigenic variant. Other routine β-cell autoantibodies were also tested by RBA.

Results

Of the 100 Argentinian type 1 diabetic patients, 65 were ZnT8A+. Out of them, 8 patients recognized all recombinant forms of ZnT8 and most patients (56) reacted against the heterodimer. Additionally, out of 282 non-obese adult-onset diabetic patients 46 were ZnT8A+, whereas 29 patients recognized only dimers. Besides, exclusive reactivity against ZnT8A was found in 9.0% for type 1 diabetes mellitus and 10.3% for non-obese adult-onset diabetic patients.

Conclusions

Significantly higher signal values in RBA were obtained with the heterodimeric variant. An increased detection of humoral autoimmunity was found in both groups when ZnT8A was employed in combination with the other β-cell autoantibodies. The inclusion of homodimeric immunoreactive peptides revealed the existence of quaternary structure-defined epitopes probably resembling the actual state of the autoantigen in vivo. Finally, the differential profiles of ZnT8A exhibited by type 1 and non-obese adult-onset diabetic patients suggest the different nature of autoimmune processes underlying both pathologies.