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La Jolla Institute researchers identify pivotal immune cell in Type 1 diabetes in humans
Date:1/12/2012

SAN DIEGO (January 12, 2012) Researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology have proven for the first time in human tissues -- the specific immune system T cells which trigger the destruction of type 1 diabetes in the pancreas. The finding is an important advance that verifies in humans several important disease characteristics shown in mouse studies and provides a key focal point for interrupting the disease process.

"This study marks the first time that the presence of beta cell-reactive T cells has been directly proven in pancreas tissues from type 1 diabetes patients," explained Ken Coppieters, Ph.D., first author on the study published online January 2nd in the in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. "Previously, it was only known in plastic dishes or mouse models. What is unique about this study is the use of human tissue."

Human pancreatic tissue for the studies was provided through a collaborative type 1 diabetes research consortium funded by JDRF, a leading charitable supporter of type 1 diabetes research. The JDRF's Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD) provides rare and difficult to obtain pancreatic tissues to carefully selected research organizations worldwide. Participating institutions are chosen based on their history and quality of type 1 diabetes research.

"Mice represent an excellent model for disease, but eventually it is important to confirm in human tissues the things that you learn in mice," said Matthias von Herrath, M.D., a world- renowned type 1 diabetes researcher, who led the scientific team. "The use of this tissue from the nPOD consortium was critical to our ability to prove which T cells are most important in destroying beta cells in humans, which leads to type 1 diabetes, and where these cells are located in the pancreas." The study was published in a paper entitled, "Demonstration of islet-autoreactive CD8 T cells in insulitic lesions from recent
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Contact: Bonnie Ward
contact@liai.org
619-303-3160
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Source:Eurekalert

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