Seminars in Immunopathology

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 57–66

Innate immunity and the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes

  • Fabio Arturo Grieco
  • Francesco Vendrame
  • Isabella Spagnuolo
  • Francesco Dotta

DOI: 10.1007/s00281-010-0206-z

Cite this article as:
Grieco, F.A., Vendrame, F., Spagnuolo, I. et al. Semin Immunopathol (2011) 33: 57. doi:10.1007/s00281-010-0206-z


Type 1 diabetes mellitus is an autoimmune disease caused by the immune-mediated destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells occurring in genetically predisposed individuals, with consequent hyperglycemia and serious chronic complications. Studies in man and in experimental animal models have shown that both innate and adaptive immune responses participate to disease pathogenesis, possibly reflecting the multifactorial pathogenetic nature of this autoimmune disorder, with the likely involvement of environmental factors occurring at least in a subset of individuals. As a consequence, components of both innate and adaptive immune response should be considered as potential targets of therapeutic strategies for disease prevention and cure. Here we review the contribution of innate immune response to type 1 diabetes, with a particular emphasis to Toll-like receptors (TLR) and NK cells.


Type 1 diabetesInsulitisToll-like receptorsNK cellsInnate immunity


Type 1 diabetes mellitus



Double-stranded RNA


Toll-like receptor


TIR domain-containing adapter-inducing interferon-β


Member of the TNF Receptor Associated Factor family proteins


Tumor necrosis factor

IKK complex

IκB kinase complex


Nuclear factor-kappa B


Interferon Regulatory Factor


Antigen-Presenting Cell

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Arturo Grieco
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francesco Vendrame
    • 3
  • Isabella Spagnuolo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francesco Dotta
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Diabetes Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences and BiochemistryUniversity of SienaSienaItaly
  2. 2.Fondazione Umberto Di Mario ONLUSSienaItaly
  3. 3.Diabetes Research InstituteUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  4. 4.U.O. DiabetologiaUniversity of SienaSienaItaly