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Mol Immunol. 2013 Dec;56(4):804-10. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2013.07.015. Epub 2013 Aug 23.

Expression profile of a clonal insulin-expressing epithelial cell in the thymus.

Author information

1
Endocrine Genetics, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease resulting from the destruction of pancreatic beta-cells. One of the main antigens targeted in this auto reactive response is insulin. It has been shown that insulin is expressed in small amounts in the thymus, and more specifically in the medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs), which also express a variety of other tissue-specific antigens. This thymic expression enables the maintenance of self-tolerance, and is essential in preventing auto-immune disease. Our laboratory has created a mouse mTEC clonal cell line specifically expressing insulin in order to better understand the regulatory mechanisms of this ectopic expression of insulin. In this study, we compared the insulin expressing cell line to an insulin non-expressing mTEC line by genome-wide expression profiling.

RESULTS:

The most important difference was overexpression of CD34 in the insulin expressing clone, confirmed by Real-time Rt-PCR and flow cytometry. Cells in the thymus expressing higher levels of CD34 were found to contain higher levels of insulin and, to a lesser extent, Aire, a master regulator of self-antigen expression in the thymus. The cells expressing CD34 were not enriched in CD80, a known mTEC maturity marker.

CONCLUSION:

CD34 may be a specific marker for functionality, with some specificity for insulin.

KEYWORDS:

Autoimmunity; IFN-γ; Insulin; Self-antigens; TNF-α; Thymus; mTEC

PMID:
23973805
PMCID:
PMC3792572
DOI:
10.1016/j.molimm.2013.07.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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