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Clin Exp Immunol. 1999 May;116(2):225-30.

Absence of significant Th2 response in diabetes-prone non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice.

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U25 INSERM, Necker Hospital and U342 INSERM, Saint Vincent de Paul Hospital, Paris, France.

Erratum in

  • Clin Exp Immunol. 3003 Apr;132(1):180.


Accumulating evidence suggests that Th1 T cells play a pivotal role in the development of autoimmune diabetes. Conversely, promoting a Th2 response inhibits disease progression. However, it has not been determined whether Th2 cells are regulatory T cells that fail at the time of diabetes development in naive non-diabetic NOD mice. Therefore, in order to evaluate cytokine secretion by spleen and islet infiltrating T cells in NOD mice at different stages of the autoimmune process, we developed an ELISPOT assay that detects IL-2, IL-4, and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) secretion in vitro at the single-cell level. We showed that, whatever the age considered, IFN-gamma is predominantly secreted, and that no IL-4-secreting cells are detected in the islets of male and female NOD mice. Spleen cells from 8-week-old female NOD mice, which include regulatory suppressor T cells, do not secrete IL-4, either upon presentation of islet cell antigens in vitro, or after transfer in vivo, but do secrete IFN-gamma. IFN-gamma secretion by T cells from diabetic mice results from CD4 but not CD8 T cells in transfer experiments into NOD/severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) recipients. These results suggest that (i) detection of regulatory CD4 T cells in NOD mice is not paralleled by a Th2 response; (ii) beta cell destruction does not depend on a switch from a Th2 to a Th1-type response; and (iii) CD8 T cells do not participate in induction of diabetes by secreting IFN-gamma.

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