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J Immunol. 2005 Oct 15;175(8):5240-7.

Diabetes resistance/susceptibility in T cells of nonobese diabetic mice conferred by MHC and MHC-linked genes.

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Julia McFarlane Diabetes Research Centre, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Polymorphism of MHC and MHC-linked genes is tightly associated with susceptibility to type 1 diabetes (T1D) in human and animal models. Despite the extensive studies, however, the role of MHC and MHC-linked genes expressed by T cells on T1D susceptibility remains unclear. Because T cells develop from TCR(-) thymic precursor (pre-T) cells that undergo MHC restriction mediated by thymic stroma cells, we reconstituted the T cell compartment of NOD.scid-RIP-B7.1 mice using pre-T cells isolated from NOD, NOR, AKR, and C57BL/6 (B6) mice. T1D developed rapidly in the mice reconstituted with pre-T cells derived from NOD or NOR donors. In contrast, most of the NOD.scid-RIP-B7.1 mice reconstituted with pre-T cells from AKR or B6 donors were free of T1D. Further analysis revealed that genes within MHC locus of AKR or B6 origin reduced incidence of T1D in the reconstituted NOD.scid-RIP-B7.1 mice. The expression of MHC class I genes of k, but not b haplotype, in T cells conferred T1D resistance. Replacement of an interval near the distal end of the D region in T cells of B6 origin with an identical allele of 129.S6 origin resulted in T1D development in the reconstituted mice. These results provide evidence that the expression of MHC class I and MHC-linked genes in T cells of NOD mice indeed contributes to T1D susceptibility, while expression of specific resistance alleles of MHC or MHC-linked genes in T cells alone would effectively reduce or even prevent T1D.

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