Horm Metab Res 2002 Aug;34(8):455-9
Monetini L, Cavallo MG, Manfrini S, Stefanini L, Picarelli A, Di Tola M, Petrone A, Bianchi M, La Presa M, Di Giulio C, Baroni MG, Thorpe R, Walker BK, IMDIAB Group, Pozzilli P.
Unit of Diabetes and Endocrinology, University "Campus Bio-Medico", Rome, Italy.
Cow's milk is thought to be an environmental trigger for autoimmune response in Type 1 diabetes.
In the present study, our aim was to investigate the antibody response to bovine beta-casein in different immune- and non-immune-mediated diseases and to establish whether such an antibody response is specific to Type 1 diabetes.
We measured antibodies to bovine beta-casein using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in a total of 519 sera from subjects as follows: 71 patients with Type 1 diabetes, 33 patients with coeliac disease, 100 patients with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), 50 patients with autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD), 50 patients with Type 2 diabetes, 24 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), and 3 different groups of controls (n = 191).
Significantly increased levels of antibodies to beta-casein were found in patients with Type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease and in LADA compared to age-matched controls (p = 0.01, p = 0.02 and p = 0.01, respectively).
No differences were observed in beta-casein antibody titres between patients with other disease conditions (MS, and ATD) and age-matched controls.
The highest antibody response to beta-casein in Type 1 diabetic patients and in patients with coeliac disease could reflect the gut mucosal immune disorders common to Type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease.
Furthermore, the elevated beta-casein antibody levels found in LADA patients suggest that the antibody response to this protein may be relevant in autoimmune diabetes.