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Autoreactive antibodies control blood glucose by regulating insulin homeostasis
Timm Amendt 1, Gabriele Allies 1, Antonella Nicolò 1, Omar El Ayoubi 1, Marc Young 1, Tamás Röszer 2, Corinna S Setz 1, Klaus Warnatz 3, Hassan Jumaa 4
...Here, we show that antibody-deficient mice and immunodeficiency patients have subphysiological blood glucose concentrations. Restoring blood glucose physiology required total IgG injections and insulin-specific IgG antibodies detected in total IgG preparations and in the serum of healthy individuals. In addition to the insulin-neutralizing anti-insulin IgG, we identified two fractions of anti-insulin IgM in the serum of healthy individuals. These autoreactive IgM fractions differ in their affinity to insulin. Interestingly, the low-affinity IgM fraction (anti-insulin IgMlow) neutralizes insulin and leads to increased blood glucose, whereas the high-affinity IgM fraction (anti-insulin IgMhigh) protects insulin from neutralization by anti-insulin IgG, thereby preventing blood glucose dysregulation. To demonstrate that anti-insulin IgMhigh acts as a protector of insulin and counteracts insulin neutralization by anti-insulin IgG, we expressed the variable regions of a high-affinity anti-insulin antibody as IgG and IgM. Remarkably, the recombinant anti-insulin IgMhigh normalized insulin function and prevented IgG-mediated insulin neutralization. These results suggest that autoreactive antibodies recognizing insulin are key regulators of blood glucose and metabolism, as they control the concentration of insulin in the blood. Moreover, our data suggest that preventing autoimmune damage and maintaining physiological homeostasis requires adaptive tolerance mechanisms generating high-affinity autoreactive IgM antibodies during memory responses.