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January 21, 2021

Impaired Activated/Memory Regulatory T Cell Clonal Expansion Instigates Diabetes in NOD Mice

American Diabetes Association - 2021



Vanessa Mhanna, Gwladys Fourcade, Pierre Barennes, Valentin Quiniou, Hang P. Pham, Paul-Gydeon Ritvo, Faustine Brimaud, Bruno Gouritin, Guillaume Churlaud, Adrien Six, Encarnita Mariotti-Ferrandiz, and David Klatzmann.

  • puce

    Regulatory T cell (Treg) insufficiency licenses the destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic β-cells by autoreactive effector T cells (Teffs), causing spontaneous autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice. We investigated the contribution to diabetes of the T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoires of naive regulatory T cells (nTregs), activated/memory Tregs (amTregs), and CD4+ Teffs from prediabetic NOD mice and normal C57BL/6 (B6) mice. NOD mice amTreg and Teff repertoire diversity was unexpectedly higher than that of B6 mice. This was due to the presence of highly expanded clonotypes in B6 amTregs and Teffs that were largely lost in their NOD counterparts. Interleukin-2 (IL-2) administration to NOD mice restored such amTreg clonotype expansions and prevented diabetes development. In contrast, IL-2 administration only led to few or no clonotype expansions in nTregs and Teffs, respectively. Noteworthily, IL-2–expanded amTreg and nTreg clonotypes were markedly enriched in islet-antigen specific TCRs. Altogether, our results highlight the link between a reduced clonotype expansion within the activated Treg repertoire and the development of an autoimmune disease. They also indicate that the repertoire of amTregs is amenable to rejuvenation by IL-2.

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