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Diabetes. 2008 May;57(5):1312-20. doi: 10.2337/db07-1594. Epub 2008 Feb 27.

The frequency and immunodominance of islet-specific CD8+ T-cell responses change after type 1 diabetes diagnosis and treatment.

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  • 1INSERM U580, Paris, France.



Islet-reactive CD8(+) T-cells play a key role in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes in the NOD mouse. The predominant T-cell specificities change over time, but whether similar shifts also occur after clinical diagnosis and insulin treatment in type 1 diabetic patients is unknown.


We took advantage of a recently validated islet-specific CD8(+) T-cell gamma-interferon enzyme-linked immunospot (ISL8Spot) assay to follow responses against preproinsulin (PPI), GAD, insulinoma-associated protein 2 (IA-2), and islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit-related protein (IGRP) epitopes in 15 HLA-A2(+) adult type 1 diabetic patients close to diagnosis and at a second time point 7-16 months later.


CD8(+) T-cell reactivities were less frequent at follow-up, as 28.6% of responses tested positive at type 1 diabetes diagnosis vs. 13.2% after a median of 11 months (P = 0.003). While GAD and IA-2 autoantibody (aAb) titers were unchanged in 75% of cases, the fraction of patients responding to PPI and/or GAD epitopes by ISL8Spot decreased from 60-67 to 20% (P < 0.02). The previously subdominant IA-2(206-214) and IGRP(265-273) peptides were newly targeted, thus becoming the immunodominant epitopes.


Shifts both in frequency and in immunodominance of CD8(+) T-cell responses occur more rapidly than do changes in aAb titers. These different kinetics may suggest complementary clinical applications for T-cell and aAb measurements.

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