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Immunohorizons. 2017 Nov 1;1(9):198-212. doi: 10.4049/immunohorizons.1700011. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

A Protective Role for NKG2D-H60a Interaction via Homotypic T Cell Contact in Nonobese Diabetic Autoimmune Diabetes Pathogenesis.

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Department of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Immunology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160.
Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110.
Department of Histology and Embryology, Medical Faculty, University of Rijeka, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia.


The NK group 2 member D (NKG2D) immune receptor is implicated in both human and mouse autoimmune diabetes. However, the significance of NKG2D in diabetes pathogenesis has been unclear due to conflicting reports as to the importance of this receptor in the NOD mouse model. In this study we demonstrate that NKG2D expression affects NOD diabetes development by at least two previously undescribed, and opposing, mechanisms. First, we demonstrate that the NKG2D ligand H60a is induced on activated NOD T cells, and that NKG2D-H60a interaction during CD8+ T cell differentiation into CTLs generally decreases the subsequent CTL effector cytokine response. This corresponds to an increase in diabetes development in NKG2D-deficient compared with wild-type NOD mice under microbiota-depleted conditions. Second, we demonstrate that NKG2D promotes NOD diabetes development through interaction with the microbiota. Together these findings reveal a previously undescribed role for NKG2D ligand expression by activated T cells in CTL development. Further, they demonstrate that NKG2D has both diabetogenic and antidiabetogenic roles in NOD diabetes development.

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