Author(s): Cucak H, Grunnet LG, Rosendahl A
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Abstract Human T2D is characterized by a low-grade systemic inflammation, loss of β-cells, and diminished insulin production. Local islet immunity is still poorly understood, and hence, we evaluated macrophage subpopulations in pancreatic islets in the well-established murine model of T2D, the db/db mouse. Already at 8 weeks of disease, on average, 12 macrophages were observed in the diabetic islets, whereas only two were recorded in the nondiabetic littermates. On a detailed level, the islet resident macrophages increased fourfold compared with nondiabetic littermates, whereas a pronounced recruitment (eightfold) of a novel subset of macrophages (CD68+F4/80-) was observed. The majority of the CD68+F4/80+ but only 40\% of the CD68+F4/80- islet macrophages expressed CD11b. Both islet-derived macrophage subsets expressed moderate MHC-II, high galectin-3, and low CD80/CD86 levels, suggesting the cells to be macrophages rather than DCs. On a functional level, the vast majority of the macrophages in the diabetic islets was of the proinflammatory, M1-like phenotype. The systemic immunity in diabetic animals was characterized by a low-grade inflammation with elevated cytokine levels and increase of splenic cytokine, producing CD68+F4/80- macrophages. In late-stage diabetes, the cytokine signature changed toward a TGF-β-dominated profile, coinciding with a significant increase of galectin-3-positive macrophages in the spleen. In summary, our results show that proinflammatory M1-like galectin-3+ CD80/CD86(low) macrophages invade diabetic islets. Moreover, the innate immunity matures in a diabetes-dependent manner from an initial proinflammatory toward a profibrotic phenotype, supporting the concept that T2D is an inflammatory disease.
This article was published in J Leukoc Biol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology