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Diabetologia. 2013 Jan;56(1):136-46. doi: 10.1007/s00125-012-2722-y. Epub 2012 Oct 7.

B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein 1 (BLIMP-1) attenuates autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice by suppressing Th1 and Th17 cells.

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  • 1Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, 161, Section 6, MinChuan East Road, Neihu, Taipei 114, Taiwan, Republic of China.



Recent reports indicate that B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein 1 (BLIMP-1), encoded by the Prdm1 gene, expands its control over T cells and is associated with susceptibility to colitis in mice with T cell-specific BLIMP-1 deficiency. In this study, we aimed to investigate the potential role of BLIMP-1 in regulating autoimmune diabetes and T helper type 17 (Th17) cells.


We generated T cell-specific Blimp1 (also known as Prdm1) transgenic (Tg) or conditional knockout (CKO) NOD mice, in which Blimp1 is overexpressed or deleted in T cells, respectively. By side-by-side analysing these Tg or CKO mice, we further dissected the potential mechanisms of BLIMP-1-mediated modulation on autoimmune diabetes.


Overproduction of BLIMP-1 in T cells significantly attenuated insulitis and the incidence of diabetes in NOD mice. Consistent with these results, the diabetogenic effect of splenocytes was remarkably impaired in Blimp1 Tg mice. Moreover, overproduction of BLIMP-1 repressed the proliferation and activation of lymphocytes and enhanced the function of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in NOD mice. In contrast, mice lacking BLIMP-1 in T cells markedly increased Th1 and Th17 cells, and developed highly proliferative and activated lymphocytes. Strikingly, overexpansion of Th1 and Th17 cells in CKO mice was significantly reduced by introducing a Blimp1 transgene, reinforcing the emerging role of BLIMP-1 in autoimmunity.


We conclude that BLIMP-1 orchestrates a T cell-specific modulation of autoimmunity by affecting lymphocyte proliferation and activation, Th1 and Th17 cell differentiation, and Treg function. Our results provide a theoretical basis for developing BLIMP-1-manipulated therapies for autoimmune diabetes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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