Background: Treatment with a specific HSP60 epitope in new onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients has been shown to preserve endogenous insulin production. Previously, recognition of pan HLA-DR-binding HSP60 epitopes in various autoimmune diseases was found; this study investigated recognition of these epitopes in newly diagnosed T1D patients and correlated findings to the occurrence of a partial remission. Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 18 children with T1D were prospectively collected at disease onset and a few months after diagnosis. Epitope-specific T-cell proliferation and cytokine production (intracellular and in culture supernatants) were measured. Results were compared with 31 longstanding T1D patients and ten healthy controls. Results: Although HSP60 epitope-specific T-cell proliferative responses were detected, overall proliferative responses were low. At onset, epitope-specific intracellular IFN-γ production was higher in T1D patients compared with healthy controls (p<0.05). At follow-up, both IL-10 and IFN-γ production were higher in those without a partial remission than in those with a partial remission (both p<0.05). Also, IL-10 and IFN-γ production were higher compared with onset for patients without a PR (both p<0.01). In supernatants of HSP60 epitope-specific T-cell cultures, no substantial differences in cytokine production were found between T1D patients with and without a partial remission, either at onset or a few months after onset. As patient numbers were small, results should be interpreted with caution. Conclusions: Pan-DR-binding HSP60 peptides induced low peptide-specific proliferative responses and peptide-specific production of some, mainly intracellular, cytokines in T1D patients. Recognition did not differ significantly between patient groups and various time points.

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Keywords Children, Cytokines, Heat shock protein 60 (HSP60), Type 1 diabetes
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Journal Diabetes - Metabolism: Research and Reviews (Print)
Verrijn Stuart, A.A, de Jager, W, Klein, M, Teklenburg, G, Nuboer, R, Hoorweg-Nijman, J.J, … Prakken, B.J. (2012). Recognition of heat shock protein 60 epitopes in children with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes - Metabolism: Research and Reviews (Print), 28(6), 527–534. doi:10.1002/dmrr.2306