Nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice develop insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus due to autoimmune T lymphocyte-mediated destruction of pancreatic β cells. Although both major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted CD8+ and class II-restricted CD4+ T cell subsets are required, the specific role each subset plays in the pathogenic process is still unclear. Here we show that class I-dependent T cells are required for all but the terminal stages of autoimmune diabetes development. To characterize the diabetogenic CD8+ T cells responsible, we isolated and propagated in vitro CD8+ T cells from the earliest insulitic lesions of NOD mice. They were cytotoxic to NOD islet cells, restricted to H-2Kd, and showed a diverse T cell receptor β chain repertoire. In contrast, their α chain repertoire was more restricted, with a recurrent amino acid sequence motif in the complementarity-determining region 3 loop and a prevalence of Vα17 family members frequently joined to the Jα42 gene segment. These results suggest that a number of the CD8+ T cells participating in the initial phase of autoimmune β cell destruction recognize a common structural component of Kd/peptide complexes on pancreatic β cells, possibly a single peptide.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Oct 13 1998
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