December 14, 2000
Research: Causes and Prevention, Research: Cure
Question from Virginia, USA:
I have several questions which I hope you might answer:
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cells are destroyed due to various viruses, GAD, etc. Is the difference between type 1A and type1B is that one is due to a virus, and one is not?
Can a type 1A state be permanent, but have no antibodies in the blood? (not due to trauma)
Could the antibodies that caused type 1A diabetes spontaneously disappear?
Could regenerated cells (from the same person) be re-transplanted into a type 1 with no antibodies with no further damage to the cells?
The difference between type 1A and type 1B diabetes is that, in the former, there are one or more specific antibodies in the blood at the time of diagnosis.
Yes, antibodies may disappear after the insulin producing cells have been destroyed.
Assuming that insulin producing cells from early in the course of type 1A diabetes could be biopsied and cultured (not possible at this time), they would be destroyed on reintroduction by the continuing autoimmune process which is vested in certain lymphocytes not in the presence of antibodies. This approach has been tried with the partial transplantation of the pancreas between identical twins, and it did not succeed for the above reason.