Send to

Choose Destination
Diabetes. 2019 Aug;68(8):1544-1551. doi: 10.2337/dbi18-0048.

The Immunoreactive Platform of the Pancreatic Islets Influences the Development of Autoreactivity.

Author information

Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.


Tissue homeostasis is maintained through a finely tuned balance between the immune system and the organ-resident cells. Disruption of this process not only results in organ dysfunction but also may trigger detrimental autoimmune responses. The islet of Langerhans consists of the insulin-producing β-cells essential for proper control of body metabolism, but less appreciated is that these cells naturally interact with the immune system, forming a platform by which the β-cell products are sensed, processed, and responded to by the local immune cells, particularly the islet-resident macrophages. Although its physiological outcomes are not completely understood, this immunoreactive platform is crucial for precipitating islet autoreactivity in individuals carrying genetic risks, leading to the development of type 1 diabetes. In this Perspective, we summarize recent studies that examine the cross talk between the β-cells and various immune components, with a primary focus on discussing how antigenic information generated during normal β-cell catabolism can be delivered to the resident macrophage and further recognized by the adaptive CD4 T-cell system, a critical step to initiate autoimmune diabetes. The core nature of the islet immune platform can be extrapolated to other endocrine tissues and may represent a common mechanism underlying the development of autoimmune syndromes influencing multiple endocrine organs.

[Available on 2020-08-01]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center