Invariant natural killer T-cell control of type 1 diabetes: a dendritic cell genetic decision of a silver bullet or Russian roulette.

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Autoantibodies, CD8-Positive-T-Lymphocytes, Crosses-Genetic, Dendritic-Cells, Diabetes-Mellitus-Type-1, Flow-Cytometry, Killer-Cells-Natural, Lymphocyte-Activation, Major-Histocompatibility-Complex, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Mice-Inbred-NOD, Specific-Pathogen-Free-Organisms

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Diabetes 2010; 59(2):423-32.


OBJECTIVE: In part, activation of invariant natural killer T (iNKT)-cells with the superagonist alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) inhibits the development of T-cell-mediated autoimmune type 1 diabetes in NOD mice by inducing the downstream differentiation of antigen-presenting dendritic cells (DCs) to an immunotolerogenic state. However, in other systems iNKT-cell activation has an adjuvant-like effect that enhances rather than suppresses various immunological responses. Thus, we tested whether in some circumstances genetic variation would enable activated iNKT-cells to support rather than inhibit type 1 diabetes development. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We tested whether iNKT-conditioned DCs in NOD mice and a major histocompatibility complex-matched C57BL/6 (B6) background congenic stock differed in capacity to inhibit type 1 diabetes induced by the adoptive transfer of pathogenic AI4 CD8 T-cells. RESULTS: Unlike those of NOD origin, iNKT-conditioned DCs in the B6 background stock matured to a state that actually supported rather than inhibited AI4 T-cell-induced type 1 diabetes. The induction of a differing activity pattern of T-cell costimulatory molecules varying in capacity to override programmed death-ligand-1 inhibitory effects contributes to the respective ability of iNKT-conditioned DCs in NOD and B6 background mice to inhibit or support type 1 diabetes development. Genetic differences inherent to both iNKT-cells and DCs contribute to their varying interactions in NOD and B6.H2(g7) mice. CONCLUSIONS: This great variability in the interactions between iNKT-cells and DCs in two inbred mouse strains should raise a cautionary note about considering manipulation of this axis as a potential type 1 diabetes prevention therapy in genetically heterogeneous humans.