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J Immunol. 2006 Mar 1;176(5):2781-9.

Islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit-related protein-reactive CD4+ T cells in human subjects.

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  • 1Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Seattle, WA 98101, USA.


Islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit-related protein (IGRP) is recognized as a major autoantigen for autoimmune type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the NOD mouse model. This study was undertaken to examine CD4+ T cell responses toward IGRP in human subjects. The tetramer-guided epitope mapping approach was used to identify IGRP-specific CD4+ T cell epitopes. IGRP(23-35) and IGRP(247-259) were identified as DRA1*0101/DRB1*0401-restricted epitopes. IGRP(13-25) and IGRP(226-238) were identified as DRA1*0101/DRB1*0301-restricted epitopes. IGRP-specific tetramers were used to evaluate the prevalence of IGRP-reactive T cells in healthy and T1D subjects. More than 80% of subjects with either DRB1*0401 or DRB1*0301 haplotype have IGRP-specific CD4+ T cell responses for at least one IGRP epitope. IGRP-specific T cells from both healthy and T1D groups produce both gamma-IFN and IL-10. DRA1*0101/DRB1*0401 IGRP(247-259)-restricted T cells also show cross-reactivity to an epitope derived from liver/kidney glucose-6-phosphatase. The detection of IGRP-reactive T cells in both type 1 diabetic subjects and healthy subjects and recent reports of other autoreactive T cells detected in healthy subjects underscore the prevalence of potentially autoreactive T cells in the peripheral immune system of the general population.

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