We have recently postulated that functional autoantibodies (Abs) against L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) contribute to autonomic dysfunction in type 1 diabetes (T1D). Previous studies based on whole-organ assays have proven valuable in establishing the mechanism of anti-VGCC Ab activity, but are complex and unsuitable for screening large patient cohorts. In the current study, we used real-time dynamic monitoring of cell impedance to demonstrate that anti-VGCC Abs from patients with T1D inhibit the adherence of Rin A12 cells. The functional effect of the anti-VGCC Abs was mimicked by the dihydropyridine agonist, Bay K8644, and reversed by the antagonist, nicardipine, providing a pharmacological link to the whole-organ studies. IVIg neutralized the effect on cell adhesion of the anti-VGCC Abs, consistent with the presence of anti-idiotypic Abs in IVIg that may prevent the emergence of pathogenic Abs in healthy individuals. The cell impedance assay can be performed in a 96 well plate format, and represents a simple method for detecting the presence of anti-VGCC activity in patient immunoglobulin (IgG). The new cell assay should prove useful for further studies to determine the prevalence of the Ab and its association with symptoms of autonomic dysfunction in patients with T1D.
- Autonomic dysfunction
- Type 1 diabetes
- Voltage-gated calcium channels