Heterophile antibodies segregate in families and are associated with protection from type 1 diabetes

J. X. She, T. M. Ellis, S. B. Wilson, C. H. Wasserfall, M. Marron, S. Reimsneider, S. C. Kent, D. A. Hafler, D. S. Neuberg, A. Muir, J. L. Strominger, M. A. Atkinson

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21 Scopus citations


Markedly elevated levels of serum IL-4 were reported previously in 50% of a small group of type 1 diabetes nonprogessors. To determine the patterns of expression for this phenotype, a larger cohort of 58 families containing type I diabetic patients was examined. Analysis of the two-site ELISA assay used to measure serum IL-4 revealed evidence for heterophile antibodies, i.e., nonanalyte substances in serum capable of binding antibodies mutivalently and providing erroneous analyte (e.g., IL-4) quantification. Interestingly, relatives without type 1 diabetes were significantly more likely to have this phenotype than were patients with the disease (P = 0.003). In addition, the trait appears to have clustered within certain families and was associated with the protective MHC allele DQB1*0602 (P = 0.008). These results suggest that heterophile antibodies represent an in vivo trait associated with self-tolerance and nonprogression to diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8116-8119
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 6 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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