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J Immunol. 1997 Mar 15;158(6):2947-54.

CD3 antibody-induced dominant self tolerance in overtly diabetic NOD mice.

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INSERM Unit 25, The Necker Hospital, Paris, France.


Low doses of the CD3 mAb 145 2C11 restored self tolerance to beta cell Ags in adult overtly diabetic NOD mice. Within 2 to 4 wk after treatment, complete and permanent remission of diabetes was observed. Autoreactive T cells were not deleted in CD3 Ab-protected animals as evidenced first, by the persistence of peripheral insulitis and, second, by the capacity of spleen cells from CD3 Ab-treated mice to transfer diabetes to adult irradiated syngeneic recipients. Moreover, the conferred tolerance was reproducibly reversed by a single injection of cyclophosphamide. For 5 to 7 wk after treatment, IFN-gamma production by stimulated spleen cells was significantly decreased in treated animals. One unique feature was that the CD3 Ab-induced tolerance ensued only from treatment of overtly diabetic NOD mice. Durable protection was exclusively observed when treating mice with recent onset disease (14-20 wk old). At variance with this finding, treatment of 4- and 8-wk-old mice was without effect, and complete but transient protection followed the treatment of 12-wk-old NOD mice. The tolerogenic properties of 145 2C11 did not depend on its mitogenic capacity, since nonmitogenic F(ab')2 fragments also appeared potent at inducing durable remission in overtly diabetic NOD, although nonmitogenic CD3 F(ab')2 fragments could mediate T cell signaling, as evidenced by cytokine gene transcription (IL-2, IFN-gamma, IL-4, and IL-10) assessed by PCR on splenocytes from treated mice. A concomitant cyclosporine treatment abrogated the CD3 mAb-induced protection, further pointing to the crucial role of T cell signaling in the effect observed.

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