Activation of bone marrow adaptive immunity in type 2 diabetes: rescue by co-stimulation modulator Abatacept

Marianna Santopaolo, Niall Sullivan, Anita C Thomas, Valeria V Alvino, Lindsay B Nicholson, Yue Gu, Gaia Spinetti, Marinos Kallikourdis, Ashley W Blom, Paolo R Madeddu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)


Hypothesis Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is characterized by low-grade inflammation. Here, we investigated the state of adaptive immunity in bone marrow (BM) of patients and mice with T2D. We also tested if inhibition T cell co-stimulation by Abatacept could rescue the immune profile of T2D mice.

Methods Flow-cytometry and cytokine analyses were performed on BM samples from patients with or without T2D. Moreover, we studied the immune profile of db/db and control wt/db mice. A cohort of db/db mice was randomized to receive Abatacept or vehicle for 4 weeks, with endpoints being immune cell profile and indexes of insulin sensitivity and heart performance.

Results T2D patients showed increased frequencies of BM CD4+ (2.8-fold, p=0.001) and CD8+ T cells (1.8-fold, p=0.01), with upregulation of the activation marker CD69 and homing receptor CCR7 in CD4+ (1.64-fold, p=0.003 and 2.27-fold, p=0.01, respectively) and CD8+ fractions (1.79-fold, p=0.05 and 1.69-fold, p=0.02, respectively). CCL19 (CCR7 receptor ligand) and CXCL10/11 (CXCR3 receptor ligands), implicated in T cell migration and activation, were the most differentially modulated chemokines. Studies in mice confirmed the activation of adaptive immunity in T2D. Abatacept reduced the activation of T cells and levels of pro-inflammatory chemokines and cytokines. Additionally, Abatacept improved indexes of cardiac systolic function, but not insulin sensitivity.

Conclusions These novel findings support the concept of BM adaptive immune activation in T2D. Modulation of T cell co-stimulation could represent an attractive and immediately available modality to dampen inappropriate activation of adaptive immune response and protect from target organ damage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Publication statusSubmitted - 3 Jul 2020

Structured keywords

  • Bristol Heart Institute

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Activation of bone marrow adaptive immunity in type 2 diabetes: rescue by co-stimulation modulator Abatacept'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this