Emeritus Faculty, Acad Council, Microbiology & Immunology
I. The laboratory+s research program focuses on the molecular mechanisms by which particular major histocompatibility molecules mediate the presentation of self antigens to induce autoimmunity. One of the principle disease models is the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse, a strain which spontaneously develops type 1 diabetes; and which is similar to the same disease in man. Current experiments focus on identifying the peptide fragments of proteins from the insulin producing beta cells which induce a T cell response leading to inflammation and destruction of the islet beta cells. Specific sequence polymorphisms in the class II MHC molecule, I-Ag7, result in the development of diabetes in individuals expressing this sequence polymorphism (as well as other susceptibility genes for type 1 diabetes). We have produced T cell hybridomas recognizing many of the peptide fragments of an important islet cell protein, glutamic acid decarboxylase 65. These T cell hybridomas have been used to produce transgenic mice, and we are currently analyzing these transgenic mice as well as their T cell receptors, which recognize GAD65 peptides bound by I-Ag7, to understand how this MHC class II molecule presents peptides in such a way as to induce an inflammatory response resulting in the destruction of the islets.
II. Other genes in the major histocompatibility complex encode the structural genes for tumor necrosis factor alpha and lymphotoxin alpha/beta. These molecules are critical in both the development of the immune system, and in the function of the immune system in the adult animal. Current studies focus on the effect of TNF alpha on signaling through the T cell receptor; on the development of CD4+, CD25+ regulatory T cells which are capable of suppressing normal immune responses, as well as autoimmune responses, and on the role of lymphotoxin in driving selective expression of chemokines which result in the development of autoreactive T cells in the spleen and lymph nodes.
Before the onset of autoimmune destruction, type 1 diabetic patients and an animal model, the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse, show morphological and functional abnormalities in target organs, which may act as inciting events for leukocyte infiltration. To better understand these abnormalities, but without the complications associated with lymphocytic infiltrates, we examined genes expressed in autoimmune target tissues of NOD/severe combined immunodeficient (scid) mice and of autoimmune-resistant C57BL/6/scid mice. Our results suggest that the NOD genetic background may predispose them to diabetic complications, including insulin resistance in the absence of high circulating glucose levels and without autoimmune destruction of their beta cells. Several of these genes lie within known type 1 and 2 diabetes loci. These data suggest that the NOD mouse may be a good candidate to study an interface between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0604317103
View details for Web of Science ID 000239867500050
View details for PubMedID 16895987
This presentation is an overview of mechanisms for developing and maintaining self-tolerance in mammalian organisms. Because this meeting is focused on type 1 diabetes and its mechanisms, the discussion deals primarily with mechanisms of T-cell tolerance, since type 1 diabetes in both effector and initiator phases is primarily a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease. Emphasis is placed on more recently discovered mechanisms of maintaining self-tolerance (autoimmune regulator [AIRE]) and a new defect in T-cell negative selection. The emerging picture is that of a polygenic disease with various combinations of different alleles of many genes with important roles in the normal immune response or normal immune responses.
View details for Web of Science ID 000233727300002
View details for PubMedID 16306338
TNF-alpha has been linked to the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D). We previously reported that neonatal treatment of nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice with TNF-alpha accelerated the onset of T1D, whereas TNF-alpha blockade in the same time period resulted in a complete absence of diabetes. The mechanisms by which TNF-alpha modulates development of T1D in NOD mice remain unclear. Here we tested the effects of TNF-alpha on the maturation of dendritic cells (DCs) in the NOD mouse. We found that neonatal treatment with TNF-alpha caused an increase in expression of maturation markers on CD11c(+)CD11b(+) DC subpopulations, whereas treatment with anti-TNF-alpha resulted in a decrease in expression of maturation markers in the CD11c(+)CD11b(+) subset. Moreover, neonatal treatment with TNF-alpha resulted in skewed development of a CD8alpha(+)CD11b(-)CD11c(+) DC subset such that TNF-alpha decreases the CD8alpha(+)CD11c(+) DC subset, increases the CD11c(+)CD11b(+) subset, and causes an increase in the expression of CD40 and CD54 on mature DCs capable of inducing immunity. Anti-TNF-alpha-treated mice had an increase in the CD8alpha(+)CD11c(+) DCs. Notably, adoptively transferred naïve CD4(+) T cells from BDC2.5 T cell receptor transgenic mice proliferated in the pancreatic lymph nodes in TNF-alpha-treated NOD mice but not in anti-TNF-alpha-treated mice. Finally, we show that anti-TNF-alpha-treated mice showed immunological tolerance to islet cell proteins. We conclude that TNF-alpha plays an important role in the initiation of T1D in the NOD mouse by regulating the maturation of DCs and, thus, the activation of islet-specific pancreatic lymph node T cells.
View details for Web of Science ID 000233090900051
View details for PubMedID 16247001
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC1276103
Specific antigen vaccination by administration of the target antigen in aqueous solution has resulted in significant decreases of disease severity in animal models of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, type I diabetes, and several forms of antigen-induced arthritis, even if administered after the initiation of symptoms. However, in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and type I diabetes in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, repeated administration of peptide fragments of target antigens in incomplete Freund's adjuvant has resulted in severe anaphylactic reactions. Although these methods of administration are known to potentiate CD4 T helper 2 (Th2) responses, which is the goal of specific antigen vaccination, the risk of anaphylaxis raises a red flag concerning use of this therapy for diseases such as type I diabetes, where the survival time after onset is quite long. It is clear that specific antigen vaccination is effective in preventing several animal models of autoimmune disease, and in treating these diseases once the symptoms are overt. However, the risks of this therapy require serious consideration of alternative methods for down-regulation of the autoimmune process.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0405235101
View details for Web of Science ID 000224424300012
View details for PubMedID 15466699
Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) 65 is one of the major pancreatic antigens targeted by self-reactive T cells in type I diabetes mellitus. T cells specific for GAD65 are among the first to enter inflamed islets and may be important for the initiation of autoimmune diabetes. However, we previously reported that nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice transgenic for a T cell antigen receptor (TCR) specific for one of the immunodominant epitopes of GAD65, peptide 286-300 (G286), are protected from insulitis and diabetes. To examine whether other GAD65-reactive T cells share this phenotype, we have generated TCR transgenic NOD mice for a second immunodominant epitope of GAD65, peptide 206-220 (G206). As in G286 mice, G206 mice do not develop islet inflammation or diabetes. When adoptively transferred along with diabetogenic T cells, activated G206 T cells significantly delayed the onset of diabetes in NOD.scid recipients. Both G206 and G286 T cells produce immunoregulatory cytokines IFN-gamma and IL-10 at low levels when activated by cognate antigens. These data suggest that GAD65-specific T cells may play a protective role in diabetes pathogenesis by regulating pathogenic T cell responses. A better understanding of the functions of autoreactive T cells in type I diabetes will be necessary for choosing desirable targets for immunotherapy.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0405500101
View details for Web of Science ID 000224211400044
View details for PubMedID 15381770
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC521137
Insulin dependent (i.e., "type 1") diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is considered to be a T cell mediated disease in which TH1 and Tc autoreactive cells attack the pancreatic islets. Among the beta-cell antigens implicated in T1DM, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) 65 appears to play a key role in the development of T1DM in humans as well as in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, the experimental model for this disease. It has been shown that shifting the immune response to this antigen from TH1 towards TH2, via the administration of GAD65 peptides to young NOD mice, can suppress the progression to overt T1DM. Accordingly, various protocols of "peptide immunotherapy" of T1DM are under investigation. However, in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), another autoimmune TH1 mediated disease that mimics human multiple sclerosis, anaphylactic shock can occur when the mice are challenged with certain myelin self peptides that initially were administered with adjuvant to induce the disease.Here we show that NOD mice, that spontaneously develop T1DM, can develop fatal anaphylactic reactions upon challenge with preparations of immunodominant GAD65 self peptides after immunization with these peptides to modify the development of T1DM.These findings document severe anaphylaxis to self peptide preparations used in an attempt to devise immunotherapy for a spontaneous autoimmune disease. Taken together with the findings in EAE, these results suggest that peptide therapies designed to induce a TH1 to TH2 shift carry a risk for the development of anaphylactic reactivity to the therapeutic peptides.
View details for PubMedID 12597780
Using BW 5147 T cell hybridomas isolated by fusion with spleen and lymph node cells from NOD female mice, two T cell receptor transgenic NOD mouse lines were produced. Both TCR transgenics respond to their cognate peptide/MHC (GAD65 206-220 and 286-300) and produce IL-2, IFN-gamma, and small amounts of IL-10. Unexpectedly, the transgenic mice do not develop diabetes and have no insulitis. Analysis with a GAD65 286-300/I-A(g7) tetramer reveals that transgenic T cells are negatively selected in the thymus and further negatively selected in the periphery. When crossed to the C(alpha)(-/-) NOD line, CD4 T cells were reduced by 90% in the thymus and periphery. Further, the tetramer positive GAD65 286-300 specific T cells were capable of delaying the onset of diabetes in a standard transfer system. Thus, GAD65 specific TCR transgenic T cells (1) must express a second a chain to survive negative selection, (2) produce IL-2 and IFN-gamma, and (3) have a mildly protective effect on transfer of diabetes with diabetogenic spleen cells.
View details for Web of Science ID 000187496100007
View details for PubMedID 14679041
The mechanism by which tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) differentially modulates type I diabetes mellitus in the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse is not well understood. CD4+CD25+ T cells have been implicated as mediators of self-tolerance. We show (i) NOD mice have a relative deficiency of CD4+CD25+ T cells in thymus and spleen; (ii) administration of TNF or anti-TNF to NOD mice can modulate levels of this population consistent with their observed differential age-dependent effects on diabetes in the NOD mouse; (iii) CD4+CD25+ T cells from NOD mice treated neonatally with TNF show compromised effector function in a transfer system, whereas those treated neonatally with anti-TNF show no alteration in ability to prevent diabetes; and (iv) repeated injection of CD4+CD25+ T cells into neonatal NOD mice delays diabetes onset for as long as supplementation occurred. These data suggest that alterations in the number and function of CD4+CD25+ T cells may be one mechanism by which TNF and anti-TNF modulate type I diabetes mellitus in NOD mice.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.172382999
View details for Web of Science ID 000178187000054
View details for PubMedID 12221281
Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)65 is an early and important antigen in both human diabetes mellitus and the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse. However, the exact role of GAD65-specific T cells in diabetes pathogenesis is unclear. T cell responses to GAD65 occur early in diabetes pathogenesis, yet only one GAD65-specific T cell clone of many identified can transfer diabetes. We have generated transgenic mice on the NOD background expressing a T cell receptor (TCR)-specific for peptide epitope 286-300 (p286) of GAD65. These mice have GAD65-specific CD4(+) T cells, as shown by staining with an I-A(g7)(p286) tetramer reagent. Lymphocytes from these TCR transgenic mice proliferate and make interferon gamma, interleukin (IL)-2, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, and IL-10 when stimulated in vitro with GAD65 peptide 286-300, yet these TCR transgenic animals do not spontaneously develop diabetes, and insulitis is virtually undetectable. Furthermore, in vitro activated CD4 T cells from GAD 286 TCR transgenic mice express higher levels of CTL-associated antigen (CTLA)-4 than nontransgenic littermates. CD4(+) T cells, or p286-tetramer(+)CD4(+) Tcells, from GAD65 286-300-specific TCR transgenic mice delay diabetes induced in NOD.scid mice by diabetic NOD spleen cells. This data suggests that GAD65 peptide 286-300-specific T cells have disease protective capacity and are not pathogenic.
View details for DOI 10.1084/jem.20011845
View details for Web of Science ID 000177669300007
View details for PubMedID 12186840
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2196059
Immunization of rabbits, and inbred strains of mice with branched, multichain, synthetic polypeptides, such as (T, G) - A--L and (H, G) - A--L, revealed striking differences in the ability of different strains of mice to produce specific antibody. F1 and F1 x parental backcross mice revealed clear genetic control. Initial attempts to link this genetic control to known genetic markers were unsuccessful. The second approach, which attempted to transfer response from high or immediate responders into low responder recipients, initially encountered graft vs. host and host vs. graft reactions. The transfer of F1 spleen cells into the low responder parent demonstrated that ability to respond was a property of immunocompetent cells (spleen cells), not of the recipient's background genes. Mapping studies with recombinant H2 haplotype congenic strains, and a classic 4-point mapping cross were concordant in placing the gene controlling this trait within the H2 complex, between the K and Ss loci. Subsequent studies mapped the genes for stimulation in the mixed lymphocyte culture reaction to the same position, suggesting cell surface expression. Production of antisera to 'I-region' products defined 'Ia' antigens, the 2-chain alpha/beta MHC class II molecules.
View details for Web of Science ID 000177588900009
View details for PubMedID 12190924
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and lymphotoxin (LT) alpha/beta play multiple roles in the development and function of the immune system. This article focuses on three important aspects of the effects of these cytokines on the immune response and on autoimmunity. In several experimental systems (Jurkat T cells, murine T-cell hybridomas), TNF-alpha appears to cause a downregulation of signaling through the TCR, revealed by changes in calcium flux, activation of p21, p23 and ZAP70, and a decrease in nuclear activation of NF-kappaB. Previous and present results suggest that TNF-alpha interferes in some manner with signaling through the TCR, at a locus yet to be delineated. Transgenic expression of LTbetaR-Fc in nonobese diabetic (NOD) transgenic mice results in prevention of type 1 diabetes in NOD mice as long as the level of expression of the fusion protein (under the control of the cytomegalovirus promoter) remains above a level of 2-3 microg/ml. Once the expression levels of the fusion protein have dropped below this critical level, the diabetic process resumes and the animals become diabetic at 40-50 weeks of age, whereas nontransgenic littermates develop diabetes by 25-30 weeks of age. The paradoxical effects of neonatal TNF-alpha administration in NOD mice in increasing incidence of and hastening onset of type 1 diabetes, while neonatal anti-TNF administration completely prevents all signs of islet cell autoimmunity, are due partly to the low levels of CD4+CD25+ T cells in NOD mice. These low levels are reduced by a further 50% on neonatal administration of nontoxic levels of TNF-alpha. In contrast, neonatal administration of anti-TNF-alpha results in a dramatic increase in the levels of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells, to levels beyond those seen in wild-type untreated NOD mice. TNF-alpha and LTalpha/beta thus have pleomorphic regulatory effects on the development and expression of autoimmunity.
View details for PubMedID 12110133
A chance observation has led to the development of a new murine model for inflammatory arthritis. Arthritis is induced, and transferred, by T-cell-dependent antibodies to glucose-6-phosphate isomerase. This enzyme is expressed in all cells, and is detectable in serum. There are several similarities to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the murine disease. This elegant model raises several questions as to how and why a systemic response focuses inflammation so strongly on synovial joints. The model also re-introduces the possibility that antibodies to widely expressed self-proteins may play a role in the pathogenesis of RA.
View details for Web of Science ID 000167357300001
View details for PubMedID 11094417
Susceptibility to type I diabetes is linked to class II MHC alleles in both mouse and man. However, the molecular mechanisms by which MHC molecules mediate disease susceptibility are unknown. To analyze how I-A alleles predispose to, or prevent, the development of type I diabetes, we have chosen, as the first step, to investigate the immune response to an important islet cell protein in diabetes-susceptible and diabetes-resistant mice. MHC class II alleles conferring susceptibility and resistance to diabetes select completely different sets of immunogenic epitopes from the beta islet cell autoantigen glutamic acid decarboxylase 65. Peptide-binding studies, analysis of MHC restriction, and immunization with these peptide epitopes indicate that the two amino acid substitutions within the I-A(beta) chain that distinguish a diabetes-susceptibility from a diabetes-resistance allele are sufficient to alter peptide binding and MHC restriction and may also influence antigen presentation and the selection of the T cell repertoire. The data indicate that the molecular mechanisms for class II-mediated selection of immunodominant epitopes are complex and differ for each individual peptide epitope. Further study of the functional characteristics of the response to these epitopes should provide insight into mechanisms of MHC-mediated diabetes susceptibility.
View details for Web of Science ID 000081835500095
View details for PubMedID 10430937
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC17775
Susceptibility to the human autoimmune disease IDDM is strongly associated with those haplotypes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) carrying DQB1 alleles that do not encode aspartic acid at codon 57. Similarly, in a spontaneous animal model of this disease, the NOD mouse, the genes of the MHC play an important role in the development of diabetes. The DQB1 homolog in NOD mice, I-Ab(g7), encodes a histidine at codon 56 and a serine at codon 57, while all other known I-Ab alleles encode proline and aspartic acid, respectively, at these positions. We therefore mutated the NOD I-Ab allele to encode proline at position 56 and aspartic acid at position 57 and introduced this allele onto the NOD genetic background to study the effect of these substitutions on susceptibility to diabetes. No transgenic mice developed diabetes by 8 months of age, and transgenic mice had markedly reduced lymphocytic infiltration in the pancreas compared with nontransgenic littermates. Furthermore, splenocytes from transgenic mice failed to proliferate or secrete gamma-interferon in response to a panel of beta-cell autoantigens, although the mice did produce beta-cell specific antibodies. Interestingly, the proportion of IgG1 and IgE relative to IgG2a comprising these autoantibodies was much greater in transgenic mice compared with nontransgenic control mice. Finally, T-cells from transgenic mice inhibited the adoptive transfer of diabetes to irradiated recipients. This inhibition was partially reversed by treatment of the recipients with a combination of anti-interleukin (IL)-4 and anti-IL-10 monoclonal antibodies. Thus, a transgenic class II MHC allele encoding aspartic acid at B57 prevents diabetes, in part, by promoting the production of IL-4 and IL-10, which interfere with the effector phase of the diabetic process.
View details for Web of Science ID 000076061300006
View details for PubMedID 9753294
IDDM is a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease in which the insulin-producing beta-cells are destroyed. The disease process is complex, involving the recognition of several beta-cell autoantigens. One of these, GAD65, appears to have a critical and not fully defined role in IDDM in humans and in the NOD mouse. We provide evidence that an ongoing diabetogenic response in NOD mice can be suppressed after intravenous administration of GAD65, but not by other beta-cell autoantigens. Furthermore, suppression of the diabetogenic response is mediated by the induction of GAD65-specific CD4+ regulatory T-cells. Finally, cytokine analysis indicates that these CD4+ regulatory T-cells have a T-helper 2 phenotype.
View details for Web of Science ID 000073759100006
View details for PubMedID 9604865
Nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice develop autoimmune-mediated lymphocytic inflammation of pancreatic islets (insulitis) that leads to beta-cell destruction and development of diabetes. Inflamed islets show expression of lymphocyte alpha 4 beta 7 integrin and endothelial mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule-1 (MAdCAM-1), adhesion molecules involved in tissue-selective migration of lymphocytes to mucosal lymphoid tissues. To elucidate the roles of the mucosal lymphocyte/endothelial adhesion system in the development of diabetes, we treated NOD mice with monoclonal antibody against beta 7 integrin or MAdCAM-1. Treatment of mice from age 7 to 28 days or 8 to 12 weeks with either antibody led to significant and long-standing protection against the spontaneous development of diabetes and insulitis. In contrast, neither treatment prevented the development of salivary gland inflammation (sialadenitis), indicating that the effect was tissue-selective. Monoclonal antibody treatment had no demonstrable effect on numbers or phenotypes of peripheral lymphocytes or on the immune response to pancreatic islet or exogenous antigens. These data indicate that lymphocyte and endothelial adhesion molecules involved in the migration of lymphocytes into mucosal lymphoid tissues play a role in the development of diabetes in NOD mice. Moreover, the results suggest that treatment of humans with antibodies against tissue-selective lymphocyte or endothelial adhesion molecules may selectively inhibit the development of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997XX80000002
View details for PubMedID 9313747
Repeated injections of adult mice with recombinant murine TNF prolong the survival of NZB/W F1 mice, and suppress type I insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. To determine whether repeated TNF injections suppress T cell function in adult mice, we studied the responses of influenza hemagglutinin-specific T cells derived from T cell receptor (HNT-TCR) transgenic mice. Treatment of adult mice with murine TNF for 3 wk suppressed a broad range of T cell responses, including proliferation and cytokine production. Furthermore, T cell responses of HNT-TCR transgenic mice also expressing the human TNF-globin transgene were markedly reduced compared to HNT-TCR single transgenic littermates, indicating that sustained p55 TNF-R signaling is sufficient to suppress T cell function in vivo. Using a model of chronic TNF exposure in vitro, we demonstrate that (a) chronic TNF effects are dose and time dependent, (b) TNF suppresses the responses of both Th1 and Th2 T helper subsets, (c) the suppressive effects of endogenous TNF produced in T cell cultures could be reversed with neutralizing monoclonal antibodies to TNF, and (d) prolonged TNF exposure attenuates T cell receptor signaling. The finding that anti-TNF treatment in vivo enhances T cell proliferative responses and cytokine production provides evidence for a novel regulatory effect of TNF on T cells in healthy laboratory mice. These effects are more pronounced in chronic inflammatory disease. In addition, our data provide a mechanism through which prolonged TNF exposure suppresses disease in animal models of autoimmunity.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997WY11700007
View details for PubMedID 9151895
Early in ontogeny, the secondary lymphoid organs become populated with numerous cells of mesodermal origin which forms both the lymphoid and stromal elements. The critical receptor/ligand interactions necessary for lymphoid organogenesis to occur are for the most part unknown. Although lymphotoxin-alpha (LT alpha) has been shown to be required for normal lymph node, Peyer's patch, and splenic development, it is unclear if soluble LT alpha 3, and/or cell-bound lymphotoxin-alpha beta (LT alpha beta) mediate these developmental events. Here we report that blocking LT alpha beta/lymphotoxin-beta receptor (LT beta R) interaction in vivo by generating mice which express a soluble LT beta R-Fc fusion protein driven by the human cytomegalovirus promoter results in an array of anatomic abnormalities affecting both the spleen and Peyer's patches, but not the lymph nodes. These results demonstrate that surface LT alpha beta ligand plays a critical role in normal lymphoid organ development.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VT05400078
View details for PubMedID 8917551
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC24053