What is the role of autoimmunity in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM)?

Updated: Dec 01, 2020
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

Currently, autoimmunity is considered the major factor in the pathophysiology of type 1 DM. In a genetically susceptible individual, viral infection may stimulate the production of antibodies against a viral protein that trigger an autoimmune response against antigenically similar beta cell molecules.

Approximately 85% of type 1 DM patients have circulating islet cell antibodies, and the majority also have detectable anti-insulin antibodies before receiving insulin therapy. The most commonly found islet cell antibodies are those directed against glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), an enzyme found within pancreatic beta cells.


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