Islet Recovery and Reversal of Murine Type 1 Diabetes in the Absence of Any Infused Spleen Cell Contribution

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Science  24 Mar 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5768, pp. 1775-1778
DOI: 10.1126/science.1124004

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A cure for type 1 diabetes will probably require the provision or elicitation of new pancreatic islet β cells as well as the reestablishment of immunological tolerance. A 2003 study reported achievement of both advances in the NOD mouse model by coupling injection of Freund's complete adjuvant with infusion of allogeneic spleen cells. It was concluded that the adjuvant eliminated anti-islet autoimmunity and the donor splenocytes differentiated into insulin-producing (presumably β) cells, culminating in islet regeneration. Here, we provide data indicating that the recovered islets were all of host origin, reflecting that the diabetic NOD mice actually retain substantial β cell mass, which can be rejuvenated/regenerated to reverse disease upon adjuvant-dependent dampening of autoimmunity.

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