Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The complement proteins C1q, r, s, C2, C4, C3, factor B, C5, C6, and the inhibitors, C1 inhibitor, factors I and H were measured in 35 patients with recently diagnosed Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes, 76 patients with longer-duration disease (30 with complications) and 43 first-degree healthy relatives. We found that C1q, C4 and C3 were reduced significantly in all groups of patients (p〈0.001 for each protein in recent onset and uncomplicated patients; p〈0.01, p〈0.01 and p〈0.05 respectively, for patients with complications) compared to 60 control subjects and that C4 was also reduced in healthy relatives (p〈0.001). C4 allotypes were examined in 63 subjects (selected from the patient groups) in order to clarify the role of null alleles in the production of the C4 abnormality. These showed serum C4 to be reduced significantly in 50 patients without null alleles (patient mean 0.24 g/l; control subject mean 0.34 g/l) (p〈 0.0001), although levels were lowest in the 13 patients with one or more null alleles (mean 0.19 g/l). Finally, to examine the metabolic basis for the low concentrations of C4 and C3, the turnover of highly-purified, radiolabelled C4 and C3 was measured in seven recently diagnosed patients; four of these had low levels of C4. The data showed that three out of four of these patients had reduced synthesis of C3 and C4 and normal values for fractional catabolic rate. Two patients showed features of C4 hypercatabolism. We conclude that several early complement proteins are reduced in Type 1 diabetes, irrespective of duration or complications. These abnormalities may result from hypercatabolism or, more commonly reduction in protein synthesis. Genetic factors may influence the low serum concentration of C4.
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