Background: Islet autoantibody testing provides the basis for assessment of risk of progression to type 1 diabetes. We set out to determine the feasibility and acceptability of dried capillary blood spot–based screening to identify islet autoantibody–positive relatives potentially eligible for inclusion in prevention trials.
Materials and Methods: Dried blood spot (DBS) and venous samples were collected from 229 relatives participating in the TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study. Both samples were tested for glutamic acid decarboxylase, islet antigen 2, and zinc transporter 8 autoantibodies, and venous samples were additionally tested for insulin autoantibodies and islet cell antibodies. We defined multiple autoantibody positive as two or more autoantibodies in venous serum and DBS screen positive if one or more autoantibodies were detected. Participant questionnaires compared the sample collection methods.
Results: Of 44 relatives who were multiple autoantibody positive in venous samples, 42 (95.5%) were DBS screen positive, and DBS accurately detected 145 of 147 autoantibody-negative relatives (98.6%). Capillary blood sampling was perceived as more painful than venous blood draw, but 60% of participants would prefer initial screening using home fingerstick with clinic visits only required if autoantibodies were found.
Conclusions: Capillary blood sampling could facilitate screening for type 1 diabetes prevention studies.