Author(s): McGuire HM, Walters S, Vogelzang A, Lee CM, Webster KE,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract OBJECTIVE: Type 1 diabetes is an incurable chronic autoimmune disease. Although transplantation of pancreatic islets may serve as a surrogate source of insulin, recipients are subjected to a life of immunosuppression. Interleukin (IL)-21 is necessary for type 1 diabetes in NOD mice. We examined the efficacy of an IL-21-targeted therapy on prevention of diabetes in NOD mice, in combination with syngeneic islet transplantation. In addition, we assessed the role of IL-21 responsiveness in islet allograft rejection in mouse animal models. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: NOD mice were treated with IL-21R/Fc, an IL-21-neutralizing chimeric protein. This procedure was combined with syngeneic islet transplantation to treat diabetic NOD mice. Survival of allogeneic islet grafts in IL-21R-deficient mice was also assessed. RESULTS: Evidence is provided that IL-21 is continually required by the autoimmune infiltrate, such that insulitis was reduced and reversed and diabetes inhibited by neutralization of IL-21 at a late preclinical stage. Recovery from autoimmune diabetes was achieved by combining neutralization of IL-21 with islet transplantation. Furthermore, IL-21-responsiveness by CD8+ T-cells was sufficient to mediate islet allograft rejection. CONCLUSIONS: Neutralization of IL-21 in NOD mice can inhibit diabetes, and when paired with islet transplantation, this therapeutic approach restored normoglycemia. The influence of IL-21 on a graft-mounted immune response was robust, since the absence of IL-21 signaling prevented islet allograft rejection. These findings suggest that therapeutic manipulation of IL-21 may serve as a suitable treatment for patients with type 1 diabetes.
This article was published in Diabetes
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology