Cellular and molecular roles of beta cell autoantigens, macrophages and T cells in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes.
Yoon, JW; Jun, HS
Archives of pharmacal research, 22(5):437-447, 1999
Archives of pharmacal research
Type I diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) results from the destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells by a progressive beta cell-specific autoimmune process. The pathogenesis of autoimmune IDDM has been extensively studied for the past two decades using animal models such as the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse and the BioBreeding (BB) rat. However, the initial events that trigger the immune responses leading to the selective destruction of the beta cells are poorly understood. It is thought that beta cell autoantigens are involved in the triggering of beta cell-specific autoimmunity. Among a dozen putative beta cell autoantigens, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) has been proposed as perhaps the strongest candidate in both humans and the NOD mouse. In the NOD mouse, GAD, as compared with other beta cell autoantigens, provokes the earliest T cell proliferative response. The suppression of GAD expression in the beta cells results in the prevention of autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice. In addition, the major populations of cells infiltrating the islets during the early stage of insulitis in BB rats and NOD mice are macrophages and dendritic cells. The inactivation of macrophages in NOD mice results in the prevention of T cell mediated autoimmune diabetes. Macrophages are primary contributors to the creation of the immune environment conducive to the development and activation of beta cell-specific Th1-type CD4+ T cells and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells that cause autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are both believed to be important for the destruction of beta cells. These cells, as final effectors, can kill the insulin-producing beta cells by the induction of apoptosis. In addition, CD8+ cytotoxic T cells release granzyme and cytolysin (perforin), which are also toxic to beta cells. In this way, macrophages, CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells act synergistically to kill the beta cells in conjunction with beta cell autoantigens and MHC class I and class II antigens, resulting in the onset of autoimmune type I diabetes.
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