REVIEW – February 2004

Immunological aspects of diabetes


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The most common forms of diabetes mellitus are type 1 (autoimmune) and type 2

diabetes. Recent studies have shown that the number of people with type 2 diabetes,

carrying organ-specific antibodies, is 6–50% in different populations. This specific

disease form is called latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). The

immunological markers of type 1 diabetes are autoantibodies which can predict type

1diabetes in relatives of type 1 diabetic probands as well as in general population.

They also differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. There is a strong

association of type 1 diabetes with the highly polymorphic HLA class II immune

recognition molecules DR and DQ. Thus HLA genotyping has become an important

tool for identifying subjects at risk for developing type 1 diabetes.