Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume 93, Number 06; Pages: 2260-2263

Checkpoints in the progression of autoimmune disease: Lessons from diabetes models

Isabelle André, Antonio Gonzalez, Bo Wang, Jonathan Katz, Christophe Benoist, Diane Mathis

© 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences 

ABSTRACT In the last few years, data from experiments employing transgenic models of autoimmune diseases have strengthened a particular concept of autoimmunity: disease results not so much from cracks in tolerance induction systems, leading to the generation of an anti-self repertoire, as from the breakdown of secondary systems that keep these cells in check. T cells with anti-self specificities are readily found in disease-free individuals but ignore target tissues. This is also the case in some transgenic models, in spite of overwhelming numbers of autoreactive cells. In other instances, local infiltration and inflammation result, but they are well tolerated for long periods of time and do not terminally destroy target tissue. We review the possible molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie these situations, with a particular emphasis on the destruction of pancreatic beta cells in transgenic models of insulin-dependent diabetes.

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