Horm Metab Res 2002; 34(8): 455-459
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-33595
Original Clinical

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Antibodies to Bovine Beta-Casein in Diabetes and Other Autoimmune Diseases

L.  Monetini 1 , M.  G.  Cavallo 2 , S.  Manfrini 1 , L.  Stefanini 1 , A.  Picarelli 3 , M.  Di Tola 3 , A.  Petrone 4 , M.  Bianchi 5 , M.  La Presa 5 , C.  Di Giulio 5 , M.  G.  Baroni 4 , R.  Thorpe 6 , B.  K.  Walker 6 ,  IMDIAB Group 8 , P.  Pozzilli 1, 7
  • 1Unit of Diabetes and Endocrinology, University “Campus Bio-Medico”, Rome, Italy
  • 2Dipartimento di Terapia Medica, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy
  • 3I Cattedra di Gastroenterologia, Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy
  • 4Endocrinologia, Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy
  • 5Dipartimento di Diagnostica, Ospedale Regina Apostulorum, Rome, Italy
  • 6National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, South Mimms, UK
  • 7Dept. of Diabetes and Metabolism, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK
  • 8The IMDIAB Group: P. Pozzilli, F. Costanza, S. Manfrini, G. Coppolino, C. A. Mesturino, N. Visalli, M. Delli Castelli, A. Crinò, S. Corbi, S. Spera, C. Suraci, F. Costantino, A. Suppa, M. Cervoni, G. De Mattia, M. R. Cassone Faldetta, M. L. Manca Bitti, A. Cantagallo, M. C. Matteoli, P. Patera, E. Fioriti, D. Pitocco, G. Ghirlanda
Further Information

Publication History

Received: 5 November 2001

Accepted after revision: 7 May 2002

Publication Date:
25 September 2002 (online)


Cow's milk is thought to be an environmental trigger for autoimmune response in Type 1 diabetes. In the present study, our aim was to investigate the antibody response to bovine β-casein in different immune- and non-immune-mediated diseases and to establish whether such an antibody response is specific to Type 1 diabetes. We measured antibodies to bovine β-casein using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in a total of 519 sera from subjects as follows: 71 patients with Type 1 diabetes, 33 patients with coeliac disease, 100 patients with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), 50 patients with autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD), 50 patients with Type 2 diabetes, 24 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), and 3 different groups of controls (n = 191). Significantly increased levels of antibodies to β-casein were found in patients with Type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease and in LADA compared to age-matched controls (p = 0.01, p = 0.02 and p = 0.01, respectively). No differences were observed in β-casein antibody titres between patients with other disease conditions (MS, and ATD) and age-matched controls. The highest antibody response to β-casein in Type 1 diabetic patients and in patients with coeliac disease could reflect the gut mucosal immune disorders common to Type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease. Furthermore, the elevated β-casein antibody levels found in LADA patients suggest that the antibody response to this protein may be relevant in autoimmune diabetes.


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Prof. P. Pozzilli

University “Campus Bio-Medico”

Via Longoni 83 · 00155 Rome · Italy

Phone: + 39 (06) 22541556

Fax: + 39 (06 ) 22541336

Email: p.pozzilli@unicampus.it