Mast cells (MCs) are innate immune cells that exert positive and negative immune modulatory functions capable to enhance or limit the intensity and/or duration of adaptive immune responses. Although MCs are crucial to regulate T cell immunity, their action in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases is still debated. Here we demonstrate that MCs play a crucial role in T1D pathogenesis so that their selective depletion in conditional MC knockout NOD mice protects them from the disease. MCs of diabetic NOD mice are overly inflammatory and secrete large amounts of IL-6 that favors differentiation of IL-17-secreting T cells at the site of autoimmunity. Moreover, while MCs of control mice acquire an IL-10+ phenotype upon interaction with FoxP3+ Treg cells, MCs of NOD mice do not undergo this tolerogenic differentiation. Our data indicate that overly inflammatory MCs unable to acquire a tolerogenic IL-10+ phenotype contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmune T1D. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.