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      Immunogenetics of Type 1 Diabetes

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          The T-cell mediated autoimmune process that destroys pancreatic β cells in type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a complex phenotype influenced by multiple genetic and environmental factors. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) accounts for about half of the genetic susceptibility, through a large variety of protective and predisposing haplotypes. Other important loci associated with T1D, with much smaller effects than HLA, include the insulin variable number of tandem repeats, PTPN22, and CTLA-4. Detecting the association and confirming it beyond doubt is only the first step. Identifying the functional variant from among a block of polymorphisms in tight linkage disequilibrium and determining its biological consequences can be an even more challenging task. It is hoped that the identification of additional loci and functional analysis of known ones, no matter how small each individual effect is, will provide: (1) pathophysiological insights necessary for the development of preventive interventions; (2) risk prediction to identify individuals that can benefit from them, and (3) potentially, identification of distinct subgenotypes, with different immune dysregulation pathways leading to the common disease phenotype that may respond to different preventive interventions.

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          Most cited references 45

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          The NOD mouse: a model of immune dysregulation.

          Autoimmunity is a complex process that likely results from the summation of multiple defective tolerance mechanisms. The NOD mouse strain is an excellent model of autoimmune disease and an important tool for dissecting tolerance mechanisms. The strength of this mouse strain is that it develops spontaneous autoimmune diabetes, which shares many similarities to autoimmune or type 1a diabetes (T1D) in human subjects, including the presence of pancreas-specific autoantibodies, autoreactive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and genetic linkage to disease syntenic to that found in humans. During the past ten years, investigators have used a wide variety of tools to study these mice, including immunological reagents and transgenic and knockout strains; these tools have tremendously enhanced the study of the fundamental disease mechanisms. In addition, investigators have recently developed a number of therapeutic interventions in this animal model that have now been translated into human therapies. In this review, we summarize many of the important features of disease development and progression in the NOD strain, emphasizing the role of central and peripheral tolerance mechanisms that affect diabetes in these mice. The information gained from this highly relevant model of human disease will lead to potential therapies that may alter the development of the disease and its progression in patients with T1D.
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            Promiscuous gene expression in medullary thymic epithelial cells mirrors the peripheral self.

            Expression of peripheral antigens in the thymus has been implicated in T cell tolerance and autoimmunity. Here we identified medullary thymic epithelial cells as being a unique cell type that expresses a diverse range of tissue-specific antigens. We found that this promiscuous gene expression was a cell-autonomous property of medullary epithelial cells and was maintained during the entire period of thymic T cell output. It may facilitate tolerance induction to self-antigens that would otherwise be temporally or spatially secluded from the immune system. However, the array of promiscuously expressed self-antigens appeared random rather than selected and was not confined to secluded self-antigens.
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              HLA-DQ beta gene contributes to susceptibility and resistance to insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

               J Todd,  J Bell,  H O McDevitt (2015)
              Over half of the inherited predisposition to insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus maps to the region of chromosome 6 that contains the highly polymorphic HLA class II genes which determine immune responsiveness. Analysis of DNA sequences from diabetics indicates that alleles of HLA-DQ beta determine both disease susceptibility and resistance, and that the structure of the DQ molecule, in particular residue 57 of the beta-chain, specifies the autoimmune response against the insulin-producing islet cells.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                November 2005
                21 November 2005
                : 64
                : 4
                : 180-188
                Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada
                89190 Horm Res 2005;64:180–188
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, References: 59, Pages: 9
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