Identification of a CD8 T cell that can independently mediate autoimmune diabetes development in the complete absence of CD4 T cell helper functions

Robert T. Graser, Teresa P. DiLorenzo, Fuming Wang, Gregory J. Christianson, Harold D. Chapman, Derry C. Roopenian, Stanley G. Nathenson, David V. Serreze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

121 Scopus citations


Previous work has indicated that an important component for the initiation of autoimmune insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) in the NOD mouse model entails MHC class I-restricted CD8 T cell responses against pancreatic β cell Ags. However, unless previously activated in vitro, such CD8 T cells have previously been thought to require helper functions provided by MHC class II-restricted CD4 T cells to exert their full diabetogenic effects. In this study, we show that IDDM development is greatly accelerated in a stock of NOD mice expressing TCR transgenes derived from a MHC class I- restricted CD8 T cell clone (designated AI4) previously found to contribute to the earliest preclinical stages of pancreatic β cell destruction. Importantly, these TCR transgenic NOD mice (designated NOD.A14αβ Tg) continued to develop IDDM at a greatly accelerated rate when residual CD4 helper T cells were eliminated by introduction of the scid mutation or a functionally inactivated CD4 allele. In a previously described stock of NOD mice expressing TCR transgenes derived from another MHC class I-restricted β cell autoreactive T cell clone, IDDM development was retarded by elimination of residual CD4 T cells. Hence, there is variability in the helper dependence of CD8 T cells contributing to the development of autoimmune IDDM. The AI4 clonotype represents the first CD8 T cell with a demonstrated ability to progress from a naive to functionally activated state and rapidly mediate autoimmune IDDM development in the complete absence of CD4 T cell helper functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3913-3918
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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