Specific Inhibition of Autoimmune T Cell Transmigration Contributes to beta Cell Functionality and Insulin Synthesis in Non-obese Diabetic (NOD) Mice

Burnham Institute for Medical Research, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.57). 12/2007; 282(44):32106-11. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M705348200
Source: PubMed


Human diabetes mellitus (IDDM; type I diabetes) is a T cell-mediated disease that is closely modeled in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. The pathogenesis of IDDM involves the transmigration of autoimmune T cells into the pancreatic islets and the subsequent destruction of insulin-producing beta cells. Therapeutic interventions leading to beta cell regeneration and the reversal of established IDDM are exceedingly limited. We report here that specific inhibition of T cell intra-islet transmigration by using a small molecule proteinase inhibitor restores beta cell functionality, increases insulin-producing beta cell mass, and alleviates the severity of IDDM in acutely diabetic NOD mice. As a result, acutely diabetic NOD mice do not require insulin injections for survival for a significant time period, thus providing a promising clue to effect IDDM reversal in humans. The extensive morphometric analyses and the measurements of both the C-peptide blood levels and the proinsulin mRNA levels in the islets support our conclusions. Diabetes transfer experiments suggest that the inhibitor specifically represses the T cell transmigration and homing processes as opposed to causing immunosuppression. Overall, our data provide a rationale for the pharmacological control of the T cell transmigration step in human IDDM.

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