3:15 p.m. CT Monday, June 15
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterized by progressive pancreatic beta cell death. However, despite the critical role this process plays in disease prognosis, straightforward methods to measure beta cell loss in humans are lacking, underlining the need for novel biomarkers. In the studies presented now at the ADA, we describe the identification of a microRNA, miR-204, as such an early biomarker of T1D-associated beta cell loss in humans. MiR-204 is a highly enriched microRNA in human beta cells, and we found that it is released from dying beta cells and detectable in human serum. We further discovered that serum miR-204 was elevated in children and adults with T1D, and in autoantibody-positive at-risk subjects, but not in type 2 diabetes or other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It also was inversely correlated with remaining beta cell function in recent-onset T1D. In addition, serum miR-204 had a good predictive power to differentiate between at risk AB+ and healthy control subjects. Serum miR-204 may therefore represent an attractive biomarker to measure T1D-associated human beta cell loss even before onset of overt disease and provide a novel approach to help with early T1D diagnosis and intervention.