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Clin Immunol. 2001 Feb;98(2):190-9.

IL-4 triggers autoimmune diabetes by increasing self-antigen presentation within the pancreatic Islets.

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Department of Immunology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California, 92037, USA.


Several findings have recently questioned the long held hypothesis that cytokines belonging to the Th2 pathway are protective in T-cell-mediated autoimmunity. Among them, there is our previous report that pancreatic expression of IL-4 activated islet antigen-specific BDC2.5 T cells and rendered them able to trigger insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in ins-IL-4/BDC2.5 mice (Mueller et al., Immunity, 7, 1997). Here we analyze the mechanisms underlying IL-4-mediated activation of the self-reactive BDC2.5 T cells. IL-4 is mainly known as the Th2-driving cytokine. However, IL-4 is also critical for DC maturation and upregulation of antigen uptake and presentation by macrophages. In our model, we found that pancreatic expression of IL-4 activated self-reactive BDC2.5 T cells by increasing islet antigen presentation by macrophages and dendritic cells. IL-4 could have triggered self-antigen presentation within the pancreatic islets both by driving maturation of DC from a tolerizing to a priming state and by increasing self-antigen uptake by macrophages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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