Regulatory T cells contribute to diabetes protection in lipopolysaccharide-treated non-obese diabetic mice.

I Caramalho, L Rodrigues-Duarte, A Perez, S Zelenay, C Penha-Gonçalves, J Demengeot

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It is well established that viral, parasitic or bacterial infections can prevent type 1 diabetes (T1D) occurrence in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. On the other hand, defects in CD4(+) Regulatory T cell (Treg) numbers and/or function contribute to T1D aetiology in NOD mice and in humans. In this work, we formally tested whether the protective role of the bacterial product lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on diabetes incidence results from enhanced Treg activity. We first report that weekly administration of LPS to young prediabetic NOD mice, presenting or not insulitis at the time of treatment, afforded full protection from diabetes. Taking advantage from the high but incomplete penetrance of diabetes in NOD mice raised in specific pathogen free (SPF) conditions we compared untreated disease-free old animals with gender- and age-matched LPS-treated mice. Histological and flow cytometry analysis indicated that LPS treatment did not prevent islet infiltration or priming of diabetogenic T cells but increased Foxp3(+) and CD103(+) Treg frequency and numbers. By performing adoptive transfer experiments into alymphoid NOD/SCID recipients, we further demonstrated that CD25(+) cells from LPS-treated NOD mice, but not from naturally protected animals, maintained diabetogenic cells at check. Our study suggests that T cell regulation represents a cellular mechanism to explain the 'hygiene hypothesis' and reinforces the notion that immune activity consolidates dominant tolerance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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