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J Exp Med. 2000 Jan 17;191(2):225-38.

Neonatal tumor necrosis factor alpha promotes diabetes in nonobese diabetic mice by CD154-independent antigen presentation to CD8(+) T cells.

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  • 1Section of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Neonatal islet-specific expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in nonobese diabetic mice promotes diabetes by provoking islet-infiltrating antigen-presenting cells to present islet peptides to autoreactive T cells. Here we show that TNF-alpha promotes autoaggression of both effector CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. Whereas CD8(+) T cells are critical for diabetes progression, CD4(+) T cells play a lesser role. TNF-alpha-mediated diabetes development was not dependent on CD154-CD40 signals or activated CD4(+) T cells. Instead, it appears that TNF-alpha can promote cross-presentation of islet antigen to CD8(+) T cells using a unique CD40-CD154-independent pathway. These data provide new insights into the mechanisms by which inflammatory stimuli can bypass CD154-CD40 immune regulatory signals and cause activation of autoreactive T cells.

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