Autoimmunity to tetraspanin-7 in type 1 diabetes
McLaughlin KA., Tombs MA., Christie MR.
AbstractType 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease whereby components of insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells are targeted by the adaptive immune system leading to the destruction of these cells and insulin deficiency. There is much interest in the development of antigen-specific immune intervention as an approach to prevent disease development in individuals identified as being at risk of disease. It is now recognised that there are multiple targets of the autoimmune response in type 1 diabetes, the most recently identified being a member of the tetraspanin family, tetraspanin-7. The heterogeneity of autoimmune responses to different target antigens complicates the assessment of diabetes risk by the detection of autoantibodies, as well as creating challenges for the design of strategies to intervene in the immune response to these autoantigens. This review describes the discovery of tetraspanin-7 as a target of autoantibodies in type 1 diabetes and how the detection of autoantibodies to the protein provides a valuable marker for future loss of pancreatic beta-cell function.