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Joslin researchers increase understanding of genetic risk factor for type 1 diabetes
Date:11/28/2012

mouse model developed by Dr. Kissler's graduate student and co-author, Peilin Zheng. Using a technology that combines RNA interference, a method to silence gene expresson, with lentiviral transgenesis, a method to genetically modify animals, the scientists can manipulate gene activity in the most widely used mouse model for type 1 diabetes, the nonobese diabetic mouse (NOD). In this study, the researchers were able to easily turn off and on the PTPN22 gene in the NOD mouse. "We are the first to use this approach in the NOD mouse model," says Dr. Kissler. "It provides a very powerful way to study the contribution of PTPN22 to disease."

When PTPN22 was turned off in mice, mimicking a loss-of-function mutation, the researchers observed an increase in regulatory T cells and a decreased risk of autoimmune diabetes. "This is the first study conducted on the diabetic mouse model that supports the LYP gain-of-function hypothesis," says Dr. Kissler. "Our work should help to resolve the controversy."

By providing additional data that suggests the potential therapeutic value of PTPN22 manipulation, the study may further the development of new therapeutic options that inhibit LYP to reduce or prevent autoimmunity. "Our goal is to treat autoimmunity. Inhibiting LYP in patients may increase regulatory immune cells and could confer protection against autoimmunity, but it remains to be tested if our promising findings in this mouse model are reflected in humans," says Dr. Kissler.

The Joslin scientists are following up on this study to deepen understanding of how inhibiting PTPN22 affects T and B cells.


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Contact: Jeffrey Bright
jeffrey.bright@joslin.harvard.edu
617-309-1957
Joslin Diabetes Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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