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Autoimmunity. 2011 Sep;44(6):504-10. doi: 10.3109/08916934.2010.548839. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

The effect of regulatory T-cell depletion on the spectrum of organ-specific autoimmune diseases in nonobese diabetic mice at different ages.

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  • 1Department of Medical Gene Technology, Atomic Bomb Disease Institute, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki, 852-8523, Japan.


The nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse spontaneously develops several autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes and to a lesser extent thyroiditis and sialitis. Imbalance between effector T cells (Teffs) and regulatory T cells (Tregs) has recently been proposed as a mechanism for the disease pathogenesis in NOD mice, but previous studies have shown the various outcomes by different timing and methods of Treg-depletion. This study was, therefore, designed to compare the consequences of Treg-depletion by the same method (anti-CD25 antibody) on the spectrum of organ-specific autoimmune diseases in NOD mice of different ages. Treg-depletion by anti-CD25 antibody at 10 days of age accelerated development of all three diseases we examined (insulitis/diabetes, thyroiditis, and sialitis); Treg-depletion at 4 weeks of age accelerated only diabetes but not thyroiditis or sialitis; and Treg-depletion at 12 weeks of age hastened only development of thyroiditis and exhibited little influence on diabetes or sialitis. Increased levels of insulin autoantibodies (IAA) were, however, observed in mice depleted of Tregs at 10 days of age, not in those at 4 weeks. Thus, the consequences of Treg-depletion on the spectrum of organ-specific autoimmune diseases depend on the timing of anti-CD25 antibody injection in NOD mice. Aging gradually tips balance between Teffs and Tregs toward Teff-dominance for diabetes, but this balance for thyroiditis and sialitis likely alters more intricately. Our data also suggest that the levels of IAA are not necessarily correlated with diabetes development.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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