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Tissue Antigens. 2003 Nov;62(5):359-77.

A comprehensive guide to antibody and T-cell responses in type 1 diabetes.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an organ-specific autoimmune disease in which the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreatic islets are selectively eliminated. T cells specific for beta-cell antigens are the mediators of this precise cellular destruction. However, antibodies to beta-cell proteins are also generated and may be used for predicting disease in at-risk populations. Over the past two decades, numerous beta-cell proteins and lipids have been implicated as autoantigens in patients or in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, a well-studied animal model of T1D. Here, we present a review of these antigens, accompanied by their T-cell epitopes, where known, and a discussion of our current understanding of why particular self-proteins become disease-inciting antigens. Although two dozen beta-cell antigens have been identified to date, few of these have been confirmed to be recognized by pathogenic T cells early in the disease process. Further identification and characterization of initiating beta-cell antigens targeted by pathogenic T cells should be a priority for future studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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