Author(s): Laloux V, Beaudoin L, Jeske D, Carnaud C, Lehuen A
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Abstract The onset of autoimmune diabetes is related to defective immune regulation. Recent studies have shown that NK T cells are deficient in number and function in both diabetic patients and nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice. NK T cells, which are CD1d restricted, express a TCR with an invariant V alpha 14-J alpha 281 chain and rapidly produce large amounts of cytokines. V alpha 14-J alpha 281 transgenic NOD mice have increased numbers of NK T cells and are protected against diabetes onset. In this study we analyzed where and how NK T cells interfere with the development of the anti-islet autoimmune response. NK T cells, which are usually rare in lymph nodes, are abundant in pancreatic lymph nodes and are also present in islets. IL-4 mRNA levels are increased and IFN-gamma mRNA levels decreased in islets from diabetes-free V alpha 14-J alpha 281 transgenic NOD mice; the IgG1/IgG2c ratio of autoantibodies against glutamic acid decarboxylase is also increased in these mice. Treatment with IL-12 (a pro-Th1 cytokine) or anti-IL-4 Ab abolishes the diabetes protection in V alpha 14-J alpha 281 NOD mice. The protection from diabetes conferred by NK T cells is thus associated with a Th2 shift within islets directed against autoantigen such as glutamic acid decarboxylase. Our findings also demonstrate the key role of IL-4.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology