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Immunol Res. 2014 May;58(2-3):340-50. doi: 10.1007/s12026-014-8501-8.

Type 1 diabetes in mice and men: gene expression profiling to investigate disease pathogenesis.

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Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, 269 Campus Drive, CCSR Room 2225, Stanford, CA, 94305-5166, USA.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a complex polygenic disease that is triggered by various environmental factors in genetically susceptible individuals. The emphasis placed on genome-wide association studies to explain the genetics of T1D has failed to advance our understanding of T1D pathogenesis or identify biomarkers of disease progression or therapeutic targets. Using the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse model of T1D and the non-disease prone congenic NOD.B10 mice, our laboratory demonstrated striking tissue-specific and age-dependent changes in gene expression during disease progression. We established a "roadmap" of differential gene expression and used this to identify candidate genes in mice (and human orthologs) that play a role in disease pathology. Here, we describe two genes, Deformed epidermal autoregulatory factor 1 (Deaf1) and Adenosine A1 receptor (Adora1), that are differentially expressed and alternatively spliced in the pancreatic lymph nodes or islets of NOD mice and T1D patients to form dominant-negative non-functional isoforms. Loss of Deaf1 function leads to reduced peripheral tissue antigen expression in lymph node stromal cells and may contribute to a breakdown in peripheral tolerance, while reduced Adora1 function results in an early intrinsic alpha cell defect that may explain the hyperglucagonemia and resulting beta cell stress observed prior to the onset of diabetes. Remarkably, both genes were also alternatively spliced in the same tissues of auto-antibody positive prediabetic patients, and these splicing events resulted in similar downstream effects as those seen in NOD mice. These findings demonstrate the value of gene expression profiling in studying disease pathogenesis in T1D.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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