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Transplantation. 1995 Aug 27;60(4):368-74.

Combined therapy with interleukin-4 and interleukin-10 inhibits autoimmune diabetes recurrence in syngeneic islet-transplanted nonobese diabetic mice. Analysis of cytokine mRNA expression in the graft.

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Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Syngeneic pancreatic islet grafts in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice elicit a cell-mediated autoimmune response that destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the islet graft. IL-4 and IL-10 are cytokines that inhibit cell-mediated immunity. In this study, we evaluated the effects of IL-4 and IL-10 on the survival of syngeneic pancreatic islets transplanted into diabetic NOD mice. Islet grafts survived beyond 18 days and normoglycemia was maintained in 67% (10 of 15) of mice treated with IL-4 plus IL-10, but in none (0 of 20) of vehicle-injected (control) mice. Also, 40% (6 of 15) of the mice treated with IL-4 plus IL-10 were normoglycemic at 30 days after transplantation, compared with 14% (1 of 7) of the mice treated with IL-4 alone, 8% (1 of 13) of the mice treated with IL-10 alone, and none (0 of 20) of the control mice. Histological examination of grafts at 10 days after transplantation revealed peri-islet accumulations of mononuclear leukocytes and intact islet beta cells in grafts from IL-4 plus IL-10-treated mice, whereas islets were infiltrated by leukocytes and the beta cell mass was greatly reduced in grafts from control mice. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of cytokine mRNA expression in the grafts revealed higher levels of IL-2, IFN gamma, and IL-10 mRNA in grafts of diabetic compared with normoglycemic control mice, whereas IFN gamma and TNF alpha mRNA levels were significantly decreased in grafts of IL-4 plus IL-10-treated mice compared with either normoglycemic or diabetic control mice. These results suggest that T helper (Th)1 cells and their cytokine products (IL-2, IFN gamma, and TNF alpha) may promote islet beta cell destructive insulitis and autoimmune diabetes recurrence in syngeneic islet-transplanted NOD mice, and that administration of IL-4 plus IL-10 may inhibit diabetes recurrence by suppressing Th1 cytokine production in the islet grafts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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