Author(s): Tarbell KV, Petit L, Zuo X, Toy P, Luo X,
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Abstract Most treatments that prevent autoimmune diabetes in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice require intervention at early pathogenic stages, when insulitis is first developing. We tested whether dendritic cell (DC)-expanded, islet antigen-specific CD4+ CD25+ suppressor T cells could treat diabetes at later stages of disease, when most of the insulin-producing islet beta cells had been destroyed by infiltrating lymphocytes. CD4+ CD25+ CD62L+ regulatory T cells (T reg cells) from BDC2.5 T cell receptor transgenic mice were expanded with antigen-pulsed DCs and IL-2, and were then injected into NOD mice. A single dose of as few as 5x10(4) of these islet-specific T reg cells blocked diabetes development in prediabetic 13-wk-old NOD mice. The T reg cells also induced long-lasting reversal of hyperglycemia in 50\% of mice in which overt diabetes had developed. Successfully treated diabetic mice had similar responses to glucose challenge compared with nondiabetic NOD mice. The successfully treated mice retained diabetogenic T cells, but also had substantially increased Foxp3+ cells in draining pancreatic lymph nodes. However, these Foxp3+ cells were derived from the recipient mice and not the injected T reg cells, suggesting a role for endogenous T reg cells in maintaining tolerance after treatment. Therefore, inoculation of DC-expanded, antigen-specific suppressor T cells has considerable efficacy in ameliorating ongoing diabetes in NOD mice.
This article was published in J Exp Med
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism