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Diabetes. 2002 May;51(5):1367-74.

A 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) analog enhances regulatory T-cells and arrests autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice.

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BioXell, Milan, Italy.


Type 1 diabetes is a chronic progressive autoimmune disease characterized by mononuclear cell infiltration, dominated by interleukin-12 (IL-12)-dependent Th1 cells, of the pancreatic islets, with subsequent destruction of insulin-producing beta-cells. Here, we demonstrate that treatment of adult nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice with an analog of 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3), an immunomodulatory agent preventing dendritic cell maturation, decreases lipopolysaccharide-induced IL-12 and gamma-interferon production, arrests Th1 cell infiltration and progression of insulitis, and inhibits diabetes development at nonhypercalcemic doses. Arrest of disease progression is accompanied by an enhanced frequency in the pancreatic lymph nodes of CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T-cells that are able to inhibit the T-cell response to the pancreatic autoantigen insulinoma-associated protein 2 and to significantly delay disease transfer by pathogenic CD4(+)CD25(-) cells. Thus, a short treatment of adult NOD mice with an analog of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) inhibits IL-12 production, blocks pancreatic infiltration of Th1 cells, enhances CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory cells, and arrests the progression of type 1 diabetes, suggesting its possible application in the treatment of human autoimmune diabetes.

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