The activation of apoptosis is a critical mechanism by which pancreatic beta cells are destroyed in type 1 diabetes (T1DM). Strategies aimed at interfering with the apoptotic pathways could therefore be of potential therapeutic value. To this end, we generated NOD transgenic mice with targeted expression of the anti-apoptotic gene Cytokine response modifier A (CrmA) to pancreatic beta cells using the rat insulin promoter and the reverse tetracycline transactivator to express CrmA in a temporally controlled manner. Two lines of transgenic mice were studied whose expression of CrmA occurred only after feeding doxycycline food. Islet expression of CrmA partially protected pancreatic beta cells from the cytokine-mediated cytotoxicity in vitro and reduced modestly the spontaneous development of diabetes in NOD mice in vivo. In addition, beta cells from NOD CrmA mice were significantly protected from the destruction by diabetogenic T cells after adoptive transfer. More strikingly, NODCrmA mice were significantly resistant to the diabetogenic activity of a potent insulin-specific CD8 T-cell clone. Since these adoptive transfer models mainly represent the effector phase rather than the initiation phase of autoimmune diabetes, our data suggest that the latter is more sensitive to CrmA protection. We conclude that anti-apoptotic genes such as CrmA might be potential candidates to enhance islet graft survival in T1DM.
|Translated title of the contribution||Targeted expression of the anti-apoptotic gene CrmA to NOD pancreatic islets protects from autoimmune diabetes|
|Pages (from-to)||7 - 15|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Autoimmunity|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2006|