Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterized by a chronic, progressive autoimmune attack against pancreas-specific antigens, effecting the destruction of insulin-producing β-cells. Here we show interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a non-pancreatic autoimmune target in T1D. Anti-IL-2 autoantibodies, as well as T cells specific for a single orthologous epitope of IL-2, are present in the peripheral blood of non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice and patients with T1D. In NOD mice, the generation of anti-IL-2 autoantibodies is genetically determined and their titre increases with age and disease onset. In T1D patients, circulating IgG memory B cells specific for IL-2 or insulin are present at similar frequencies. Anti-IL-2 autoantibodies cloned from T1D patients demonstrate clonality, a high degree of somatic hypermutation and nanomolar affinities, indicating a germinal centre origin and underscoring the synergy between cognate autoreactive T and B cells leading to defective immune tolerance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)