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Clin Exp Immunol. 2002 May;128(2):213-20.

Treatment of autoimmune diabetes recurrence in non-obese diabetic mice by mouse interferon-beta in combination with an analogue of 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D3.

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Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Endocrinology (LEGENDO), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.


Autoimmune diabetes recurrence is in part responsible for islet graft destruction in type 1 diabetic individuals. The aim of the present study was to design treatment modalities able to prevent autoimmune diabetes recurrence after islet transplantation in spontaneously diabetic NOD mice. In order to avoid confusion between autoimmune diabetes recurrence and allograft rejection, we performed syngeneic islet transplantations in spontaneously diabetic NOD mice. Mice were treated with mouse interferon-beta (IFN-beta, 1 x 105 IU/day), a new 14-epi-1,25-(OH)2D3-analogue (TX 527, 5 microg/kg/day) and cyclosporin A (CsA, 7.5 mg/kg/day) as single substances and in combinations. Treatment was stopped either 20 days (IFN-beta and CsA) or 30 days (TX 527) after transplantation. Autoimmune diabetes recurred in 100% of control mice (MST 11 days). None of the mono-therapies significantly prolonged islet graft survival. Combining CsA with TX 527 maintained graft function in 67% of recipients as long as treatment was given (MST 31 days, P < 0.01 versus controls). Interestingly, 100% of the IFN-beta plus TX 527-treated mice had normal blood glucose levels during treatment, and even had a more pronounced prolongation of graft survival (MST 62 days, P < 0.005 versus controls). Cytokine mRNA analysis of the grafts 6 days after transplantation revealed a significant decrease in IL-2, IFN-gamma and IL-12 messages in both IFN-beta plus TX 527- and CsA plus TX 527-treated mice, while only in the IFN-beta with TX 527 group were higher levels of IL-10 transcripts observed. Therefore, we conclude that a combination of IFN-beta and TX 527 delays autoimmune diabetes recurrence in islet grafts in spontaneously diabetic NOD mice.

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