Modeling type 1 diabetes progression using machine learning and single-cell transcriptomic measurements in human islets

Patil, A. R., Schug, J., Liu, C., Lahori, D., Descamps, H.C., the Human Pancreas Analysis Consortium, Naji, A., Kaestner, K.H., Faryabi, R.B. and Vahedi, G.

Cell Reports Medicine


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic condition in which beta cells are destroyed by immune cells. Despite progress in immunotherapies that could delay T1D onset, early detection of autoimmunity remains challenging. Here, we evaluate the utility of machine learning for early prediction of T1D using single-cell analysis of islets. Using gradient-boosting algorithms, we model changes in gene expression of single cells from pancreatic tissues in T1D and non-diabetic organ donors. We assess if mathematical modeling could predict the likelihood of T1D development in non-diabetic autoantibody-positive donors. While most autoantibody-positive donors are predicted to be non-diabetic, select donors with unique gene signatures are classified as T1D. Our strategy also reveals a shared gene signature in distinct T1D-associated models across cell types, suggesting a common effect of the disease on transcriptional outputs of these cells. Our study establishes a precedent for using machine learning in early detection of T1D.