• cDNA microarray analysis;
  • gene expression;
  • immunomodulatory therapy

Sumpter KM, Adhikari S, Grishman EK, White PC. Preliminary studies related to anti-interleukin-1β therapy in children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes.

Background: Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) may play a role in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes, but there are no data regarding the efficacy of agents antagonizing IL-1β in patients with this disorder. We characterized the effects of IL-1β on gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and the clinical and gene expression effects of a short course of recombinant IL-1 receptor antagonist protein, anakinra, on children with newly diagnosed diabetes.

Methods: PBMC from healthy adult volunteers were exposed to IL-1β for 24 h in vitro. Gene expression was analyzed via microarray. Fifteen children within 1 wk of diagnosis of type 1 diabetes received daily anakinra for 28 d and were followed for 6 months. Blood was drawn for microarray analysis before and after anakinra treatment. Insulin secretory capacity was assessed by mixed-meal tolerance testing (MMTT) at 3–4 wk and 7 months after diagnosis. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and insulin doses were periodically recorded. Data were compared with two historical control groups of children with newly diagnosed diabetes.

Results: Although in vitro exposure to IL-1β caused many changes in PBMC gene expression, gene expression did not change significantly after anakinra therapy in diabetes patients. Anakinra-treated patients had similar HbA1c and MMTT responses, but lower insulin requirements 1 and 4 months after diagnosis compared to controls, and lower insulin-dose-adjusted A1c 1 month after diagnosis.

Conclusions: Anakinra therapy is well tolerated in children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes. Further studies are needed to demonstrate biological effects.