T cell-mediated autoimmune type-1 diabetes (T1D) in NOD mice partly results from this strain's numerical and functional defects in invariant NK T (iNKT) cells. T1D is inhibited in NOD mice treated with the iNKT cell superagonist α-galactosylceramide through a process involving enhanced accumulation of immunotolerogenic dendritic cells in pancreatic lymph nodes. Conversely, T1D is accelerated in NOD mice lacking CD38 molecules that play a role in dendritic cell migration to inflamed tissues. Unlike in standard NOD mice, α-galactosylceramide pretreatment did not protect the CD38-deficient stock from T1D induced by an adoptively transferred pancreatic β cell-autoreactive CD8 T cell clone (AI4). We found that in the absence of CD38, ADP-ribosyltransferase 2 preferentially activates apoptotic deletion of peripheral iNKT cells, especially the CD4+ subset. Therefore, this study documents a previously unrecognized role for CD38 in maintaining survival of an iNKT cell subset that preferentially contributes to the maintenance of immunological tolerance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy