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Methods Mol Biol. 2012;933:265-74. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-068-7_17.

Beta-cell autoimmunity.

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  • 1Preclinical Approaches to Stem Cell Therapy/Diabetes, Technische Universit├Ąt Dresden, DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, Cluster of Excellence, Dresden, Germany.


Beta cell destruction in autoimmune diabetes is accompanied by the presence of autoantibodies and autoreactive T cells against beta cell antigens. Autoantibodies to insulin are predictive of future diabetes in man and in the non-obese diabetic mouse model. Furthermore, the detection of peripheral autoreactive CD8(+) T cells in this mouse model is indicative of beta cell killing and correlates with the development of diabetes. We describe two protocols that are helpful for the detection of beta-cell autoimmunity in mice. The first protocol describes the detection of insulin-specific autoantibodies using a radio-binding assay. The other is a general CD8(+) T cell ELISpot protocol for the detection of peptide-specific responses of CD8(+) T cells from secondary lymphoid organs or pancreatic islets.

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