Article

Current Diabetes Reports

, 9:113

First online:

Differentiation, expansion, and homeostasis of autoreactive T cells in type 1 diabetes mellitus

  • Paolo MontiAffiliated withLaboratory for Pre-clinical Approaches to Stem Cell Therapy, Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden Email author 
  • , Anne-Kristin Heninger
  • , Ezio Bonifacio

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Abstract

Autoreactive T cells play a major role in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and are considered a major target of immunomodulatory strategies aimed at preventing or delaying the disease onset. However, the T-cell response against insulinproducing β cells is still poorly understood. T cells potentially able to recognize and destroy β cells are present in most individuals, but only in a few do they differentiate into pathogenic effectors. Recent and novel findings in T-cell biology on the dynamics of T-cell activation and memory maintenance are shedding new light on the general mechanisms of the T-cell response. In this article, we discuss how new discoveries about T-cell differentiation, expansion, and homeostasis could help to clarify mechanisms of autoimmunity that lead to T1DM.