eISSN: 2083-8441
ISSN: 2081-237X
Pediatric Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism
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Artykuł oryginalny

Lower percentages of natural killer cells in children with type 1 diabetes and their siblings

Joanna Sieniawska
Aleksandra Krzewska
Anna Skowronek
Wiktoria Wrobel
Zaklina Tomczyk
Emilia Pach
Iga Rosolowska
Barbara Wilczynska
Iwona Beń-Skowronek

Department of Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology with Laboratory of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
Pediatr Endocrinol Diabetes Metab 2023; 29 (4): 214-224
Data publikacji online: 2024/01/11
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Metryki PlumX:

One of the most common children’s endocrine and autoimmune diseases in the world is type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). The incidence of type 1 diabetes is constantly increasing, and according to current estimates, the number of children with T1DM in the world has exceeded 542,000. There are 3 main components emphasized in the pathogenesis: genetic and environmental factors, and the patient's immune system. Many publications have confirmed the role of natural killer cells (NK) in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases.

The aim of the study was to evaluate the population of NK cells and pancreatic β cell autoantibodies in a group of children with T1DM and their healthy siblings in comparison with children from families with no history of autoimmune diseases.

Material and methods:
The research included 76 children with T1DM, 101 children from the sibling group, and 30 children from the control group. Peripheral blood was analysed on a FACSCalibur flow cytometer (Becton Dickinson) to evaluate the NK cell population. The results were presented as the percentage of NK cells among lymphocytes. Statistical analysis was performed using STATIS-TICA 10 PL software.

The mean percentage of NK cells in children with T1D (10.59 ±5.37) and in the sibling group (11.93 ±5.62) was statistically reduced in comparison to the control group (14.89 ±7.78) in sequence (Student’s t-test: t = –3.24; df = 103; p = 0.002) (Stu-dent’s t-test: t = –2.30; df = 128; p = 0.02). There was no statistically significant difference in the percentage of NK cells be-tween the group of children with T1DM and their siblings (Student’s t-test: t = –1.59; df = 173; p = 0.11). In the group of sib-lings, the younger the child, the lower the reported percentage of NK cells. This relationship was statistically significant (test for the Pearson correlation coefficient t = 3.41; p = 0.0009; r = 0.33). In the group of children with type 1 diabetes, a similar relationship was not found. The concentration of anti-IA2 and anti-Znt8 antibodies was statistically significantly higher in the sibling group compared to the control group (anti-IA2 p = 0.0000001; anti-ZnT8 p = 0.00001), and the concentration of anti-GAD antibodies was comparable in both groups. In the group of children with type 1 diabetes, a positive correlation was demonstrated between the reduced percentage of NK cells and the coexistence of anti-GAD and anti-ZnT8 antibodies (Mann-Whitney U test Z = –2.02; p = 0.04). There was no similar relationship in the group of siblings.

The reduced percentage of NK cells in children with T1DM and in their siblings compared to the control group suggests the role of NK cells in the pathogenesis of T1DM. Genetic predisposition and dysfunction of NK cells probably underlie the pathogenesis of T1DM.

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