Costimulation and Autoimmune Diabetes in BB Rats

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Costimulatory signals regulate T-cell activation. To investigate the role of costimulation in autoimmunity and transplantation, we studied the BB rat model of type 1 diabetes. Diabetes-prone BB (BBDP) rats spontaneously develop disease when 55–120 days of age. We observed that two anti-CD28 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) with different functional activities completely prevented diabetes in BBDP rats. Anti-CD154 mAb delayed diabetes, whereas treatment with CTLA4-Ig or anti-CD80 mAb accelerated disease. Anti-CD86 or anti-CD134L mAbs had no effect. Diabetes resistant BB (BBDR) rats are disease-free, but >95% of them develop diabetes after treatment with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid and an mAb that depletes Treg cells. In the induced BBDR model, anti-CD154 mAb delayed onset of diabetes, whereas CTLA4-Ig, anti-CD134L or either of the anti-CD28 mAbs had little or no effect. In contrast, blockade of the CD134-CD134L pathway was highly effective for preventing autoimmune recurrence against syngeneic islet grafts in diabetic BBDR hosts. Blockade of the CD40-CD154 pathway was also effective, but less so. These data suggest that the effectiveness of costimulation blockade in the treatment of type 1 diabetes is dependent on both the costimulatory pathway targeted and the mechanism of induction, stage, intensity and duration of the pathogenic process.

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