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J Clin Invest. 1998 Nov 15;102(10):1807-14.

Local expression of immunoregulatory IL-12p40 gene prolonged syngeneic islet graft survival in diabetic NOD mice.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Kobe University School of Medicine, Kobe 650-0017, Japan.


Local production of immunosuppressive cytokines will be one of the most suitable therapeutic strategies against organ-specific autoimmune diabetes. To establish such a new therapy, we constructed recombinant adenoviral vectors with inserted mIL-12p40 (Ad.IL-12p40) and mIL-10 (Ad.IL-10). Sufficient amounts of IL-12p40 and IL-10 were secreted by relevant adenovirus-transfected nonobese diabetic (NOD) islets. Shortly after transfection, 400 NOD islets transfected with Ad.IL-12p40 or Ad.IL-10 were transplanted under the renal capsule of a newly diabetic NOD mouse. NOD mice with IL-12p40-producing islet grafts kept normoglycemia in all of 14 grafted mice for over 4 wk after transplantation. In contrast, NOD mice with IL-10-producing islet grafts became diabetic in all of six grafted mice within 2 wk af-ter transplantation. Reverse transcription-PCR analysis revealed that local production of IL-12p40 led to the decrease of interferon-gamma and the augmentation of transforming growth factor-beta at the graft site. These results suggest that IL-12 plays an important role in the destruction of islet cells at the inflamed site of autoimmunity. Such a local blockade of IL-12 would be a useful gene therapy for human autoimmune diabetes.

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