Type 1 Diabetes and Its Multi-Factorial Pathogenesis: The Putative Role of NK Cells

Valeria La Marca, Elena Gianchecchi, Alessandra Fierabracci

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) affects millions of people worldwide and is the prevalent form of all pediatric diabetes diagnoses. T1D is recognized to have an autoimmune etiology, since failure in specific self-tolerance mechanisms triggers immune reactions towards self-antigens and causes disease onset. Among all the different immunocytes involved in T1D etiopathogenesis, a relevant role of natural killer cells (NKs) is currently emerging. NKs represent the interface between innate and adaptive immunity; they intervene in the defense against infections and present, at the same time, typical features of the adaptive immune cells, such as expansion and generation of memory cells. Several recent studies, performed both in animal models and in human diabetic patients, revealed aberrations in NK cell frequency and functionality in the peripheral blood and in damaged tissues, suggesting their possible redirection towards affected tissues. NKs oscillate from a quiescent to an activated state through a delicate balance of activating and inhibitory signals transduced via surface receptors. Further accurate investigations are needed to elucidate the exact role of NKs in T1D, in order to develop novel immune-based therapies able to reduce the disease risk or delay its onset.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 10 2018

Fingerprint

pathogenesis
Medical problems
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Natural Killer Cells
cells
etiology
Self Tolerance
animal models
Antigen-antibody reactions
Tissue
Autoantigens
immunity
Adaptive Immunity
antigens
infectious diseases
Innate Immunity
Pediatrics
blood
aberration
emerging

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1/etiology
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural/immunology

Cite this

Type 1 Diabetes and Its Multi-Factorial Pathogenesis : The Putative Role of NK Cells. / Marca, Valeria La; Gianchecchi, Elena; Fierabracci, Alessandra.

In: International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Vol. 19, No. 3, 10.03.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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N2 - Type 1 diabetes (T1D) affects millions of people worldwide and is the prevalent form of all pediatric diabetes diagnoses. T1D is recognized to have an autoimmune etiology, since failure in specific self-tolerance mechanisms triggers immune reactions towards self-antigens and causes disease onset. Among all the different immunocytes involved in T1D etiopathogenesis, a relevant role of natural killer cells (NKs) is currently emerging. NKs represent the interface between innate and adaptive immunity; they intervene in the defense against infections and present, at the same time, typical features of the adaptive immune cells, such as expansion and generation of memory cells. Several recent studies, performed both in animal models and in human diabetic patients, revealed aberrations in NK cell frequency and functionality in the peripheral blood and in damaged tissues, suggesting their possible redirection towards affected tissues. NKs oscillate from a quiescent to an activated state through a delicate balance of activating and inhibitory signals transduced via surface receptors. Further accurate investigations are needed to elucidate the exact role of NKs in T1D, in order to develop novel immune-based therapies able to reduce the disease risk or delay its onset.

AB - Type 1 diabetes (T1D) affects millions of people worldwide and is the prevalent form of all pediatric diabetes diagnoses. T1D is recognized to have an autoimmune etiology, since failure in specific self-tolerance mechanisms triggers immune reactions towards self-antigens and causes disease onset. Among all the different immunocytes involved in T1D etiopathogenesis, a relevant role of natural killer cells (NKs) is currently emerging. NKs represent the interface between innate and adaptive immunity; they intervene in the defense against infections and present, at the same time, typical features of the adaptive immune cells, such as expansion and generation of memory cells. Several recent studies, performed both in animal models and in human diabetic patients, revealed aberrations in NK cell frequency and functionality in the peripheral blood and in damaged tissues, suggesting their possible redirection towards affected tissues. NKs oscillate from a quiescent to an activated state through a delicate balance of activating and inhibitory signals transduced via surface receptors. Further accurate investigations are needed to elucidate the exact role of NKs in T1D, in order to develop novel immune-based therapies able to reduce the disease risk or delay its onset.

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