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Division of Vaccine Discovery
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Division of Developmental Immunology
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Division of Cell Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The innate immune system is known to play an important role in oral tolerance to dietary antigens. This is important in development of celiac disease (CD) but may also be important in type 1 diabetes (T1D), and could potentially explain the reduced incidence of T1D in mice receiving a gluten-free (GF) diet. The direct in vivo effect of gluten on innate cells, and particularly dendritic cells (DC) is not sufficiently clarified. Therefore, we wished to investigate the innate cell populations of spontaneous diabetic NOD mice and healthy BALB/c mice kept on a GF or a standard (STD) gluten containing diet. We studied, by flow cytometry and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), if dietary gluten induces changes in the activation of DCs and distribution of selected innate cells in lymphoid, pancreatic and intestinal tissues in BALB/c and NOD mice. We found that a GF diet increased the percentage of macrophages in BALB/c spleen and of CD11c+ DCs in BALB/c and NOD spleen. Strictly gluten-free (SGF) diet increased the percentage of CD103+ DCs in BALB/c mice and decreased percentages of CD11b+ DCs in mesenteric and pancreatic lymph nodes in BALB/c mice. SGF diet in BALB/c mice also decreased DC expression of CD40, CCR7 and MHC-II in pancreatic lymph nodes. In conclusion, GF diet changes the composition of the innate immune system in BALB/c and NOD mice and increases expression of DC activation markers in NOD mice. These results contribute to the explanation of the low diabetes incidence in GF NOD mice. This mechanism may be important in development of type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
    PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0118618. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0118618
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    ABSTRACT: Susceptibility to type 1 diabetes (T1D) is strongly associated with MHC class II molecules, particularly HLA-DQ8 (DQ8: DQA1*03:01/DQB1*03:02). Monitoring T1D-specific T cell responses to DQ8-restricted epitopes may be key to understanding the immunopathology of the disease. In this study, we examined DQ8-restricted T cell responses to glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 (GAD65) using DQ8 tetramers. We demonstrated that GAD65121-140 and GAD65250-266 elicited responses from DQ8+ subjects. Circulating CD4+ T cells specific for these epitopes were detected significantly more often in T1D patients than in healthy individuals after in vitro expansion. T cell clones specific for GAD65121-140 and GAD65250-266 carried a Th1-dominant phenotype, with some of the GAD65121-140-specific T cell clones producing IL-17. GAD65250-266-specific CD4+ T cells could also be detected by direct ex vivo staining. Analysis of unmanipulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) revealed that GAD65250-266-specific T cells could be found in both healthy and diabetic individuals but the frequencies of specific T cells were higher in subjects with type 1 diabetes. Taken together, our results suggest a proinflammatory role for T cells specific for DQ8-restricted GAD65121-140 and GAD65250-266 epitopes and implicate their possible contribution to the progression of T1D.
    PLoS ONE 11/2014; 9(11):e112882. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0112882
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    ABSTRACT: Memory type 1 T helper (TH1) cells are characterized by the stable expression of interferon (IFN)-γ as well as by the epigenetic imprinting of the IFNG locus. Among innate cells, NK cells play a crucial role in the defense against cytomegalovirus (CMV) and represent the main source of IFN-γ. Recently, it was shown that memory-like features can be observed in NK cell subsets after CMV infection. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying NK cell adaptive properties have not been completely defined. In the present study, we demonstrated that only NKG2Chi NK cells expanded in human CMV (HCMV) seropositive individuals underwent epigenetic remodeling of the IFNG conserved non-coding sequence (CNS) 1, similar to memory CD8+ T cells or TH1 cells. The accessibility of the CNS1 was required to enhance IFN-γ transcriptional activity in response to NKG2C and 2B4 engagement, which led to consistent IFN-γ production in NKG2Chi NK cells. Thus, our data identify epigenetic imprinting of the IFNG locus as selective hallmark and crucial mechanism driving strong and stable IFN-γ expression in HCMV-specific NK cell expansions, providing a molecular basis for the regulation of adaptive features in innate cells.
    PLoS Pathogens 10/2014; 10(10):e1004441. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004441


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    9420 Athena Cir, 92037, La Jolla, CA, United States
  • Head of Institution
    Dr. Mitchell Kronenberg
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