© 2014 Pinna et al. Purpose: MAP3865c, a Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) cell membrane protein, has a relevant sequence homology with zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8), a beta-cell membrane protein involved in Zn++ transportation. Recently, antibodies recognizing MAP3865c epitopes have been shown to cross-react with ZnT8 in type 1 diabetes patients. The purpose of this study was to detect antibodies against MAP3865c peptides in patients with high-risk proliferative diabetic retinopathy and speculate on whether they may somehow be involved in the pathogenesis of this severe retinal disorder. Methods: Blood samples were obtained from 62 type 1 and 80 type 2 diabetes patients with high-risk proliferative diabetic retinopathy and 81 healthy controls. Antibodies against 6 highly immunogenic MAP3865c peptides were detected by indirect ELISA. Results: Type 1 diabetes patients had significantly higher rates of positive antibodies than controls. Conversely, no statistically significant differences were found between type 2 diabetes patients and controls. After categorization of type 1 diabetes patients into two groups, one with positive, the other with negative antibodies, we found that they had similar mean visual acuity (∼0.6) and identical rates of vitreous hemorrhage (28.6%). Conversely, Hashimoto's thyroiditis prevalence was 4/13 (30.7%) in the positive antibody group and 1/49 (2%) in the negative antibody group, a statistically significant difference (P = 0.016). Conclusions: This study confirmed that type 1 diabetes patients have significantly higher rates of positive antibodies against MAP/ZnT8 peptides, but failed to find a correlation between the presence of these antibodies and the severity degree of high-risk proliferative diabetic retinopathy. The significantly higher prevalence of Hashimoto's disease among type 1 diabetes patients with positive antibodies might suggest a possible common environmental trigger for these conditions.
Pinna, A., Masala, S., Blasetti, F., Maiore, I., Cossu, D., Paccagnini, D., … Sechi, L. A. (2014). Detection of serum antibodies cross-reacting with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis and beta-cell antigen zinc transporter 8 homologous peptides in patients with high-risk proliferative diabetic retinopathy. PLoS ONE, 9(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0107802