Evidence for in vivo primed and expanded autoreactive T cells as a specific feature of patients with type 1 diabetes

Paolo Monti, Miriam Scirpoli, Andrea Rigamonti, Anya Mayr, Annika Jaeger, Riccardo Bonfanti, Giuseppe Chiumello, Anette G. Ziegler, Ezio Bonifacio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identifying β cell autoantigen-reactive T cells that are involved in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes has been troublesome for many laboratories. Disease-relevant autoreactive T cells should be in vivo Ag experienced. The aim of this study was to test this hypothesis and then use this principle as a strategy for identifying diabetes-relevant autoreactive T cells. In this study, a CSFE dilution assay was used to detect glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 (GAD65)- and insulin-responsive T cells and HLA-0201*-GAD65114-122 pentamers were used to detect CD8+ GAD-responsive T cells in memory CD45RO+ and naive CD45RO- cell populations from patients with type 1 diabetes and healthy control subjects. T cell proliferative history was evaluated by flow cytometry telomere length measurement. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells specific for GAD65 and insulin were present in patients with type 1 diabetes and control subjects. Within the naive CD45RO- cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses were similar between patients and controls. Within the memory CD45RO+ cells, CD4 + T cell responses against whole GAD65 and insulin and HLA-0201*-GAD65114-122 pentamer-positive CD8+ T cells were found in patients with type 1 diabetes, but not in control subjects (p <0.05 for all). Responding cells from the CD45RO+ T cell population had substantially shorter telomere lengths than responding cells from the CD45RO- cell population. Diabetes-specific autoreactive T cells in the circulation have uniquely undergone sustained in vivo proliferation and differentiation into memory T cells. Prior selection of these cells is possible and is a way to identify diabetes-relevant target Ags and epitopes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5785-5792
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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