Early beta cell loss following islet cell transplantation in people with type 1 diabetes can be detected using plasma GAD65, new research suggests.
Islet cell transplantation is being investigated as a treatment for type 1 diabetes, in which islet cells – comprised of insulin-producing beta cells – are transplanted into patients.
These then serve to replace the destroyed beta cells in type 1 patients, with the intention for patients to achieve glycemic control and reduce the amount of insulin required.
While patients take immunosuppressive drugs following transplantation to prevent the faulty immune system in type 1 diabetes from attacking the newly transplanted cells, loss of a number of these new cells can still occur reducing the success of the treatment.
Efficacy of GAD65 marker
GAD65 (Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase) are targets of antibodies in people with type 1 diabetes. They were assessed by researchers in Europe and America as a real-time marker of beta cell destruction following the transplantation of islet cells into rats.
56 implants were measured in 26 rodent models with type 1 diabetes, with discharge of GAD65 from beta cells noted following the administration of toxins, or transplantation.
GAD65 was detected in plasma glucose during the first 24 hours following transplantation of human islet cell grafts, while discharge from human beta cells was observed between four to 24 hours after transplantation.
The researchers concluded that plasma GAD65 qualifies as a real-time marker for the loss of beta cells following islet cell transplantation.
They acknowledged, however, that further research is necessary to evaluate its clinical use, with the aim now to detect beta cell loss at later points following transplantation.
This marker could be extremely valuable for patients with type 1 diabetes undergoing islet cell transplantation in the future as its efficacy and success could be measured.
The results of this study were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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