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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Widespread expression of an autoantigen-GAD65 transgene does not tolerize non-obese diabetic mice and can exacerbate disease.

Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)65 is a pancreatic beta cell autoantigen implicated as a target of T cells that initiate and sustain insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) in humans and in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. In an attempt to establish immunological tolerance toward GAD65 in NOD mice, and thereby to test the importance of GAD in IDDM, we generated three lines transgenic for murine GAD65 driven by a major histocompatibility complex class I promoter. However, despite widespread transgene expression in both newborn and adult mice, T cell tolerance was not induced. Mononuclear cell infiltration of the islets (insulitis) and diabetes were at least as bad in transgenic mice as in nontransgenic NOD mice, and in mice with the highest level of GAD65 expression, disease was exacerbated. In contrast, the same transgene introduced into mouse strain, FvB, induced neither insulitis nor diabetes, and T cells were tolerant to GAD. Thus, the failure of NOD mice to develop tolerance toward GAD65 reflects at minimum a basic defect in central tolerance, not seen in animals not predisposed to IDDM. Hence, it may not be possible experimentally to induce full tolerance toward GAD65 in prediabetic individuals. Additionally, the fact that autoimmune infiltration in GAD65 transgenic NOD mice remained largely restricted to the pancreas, indicates that the organ-specificity of autoimmune disease is dictated by tissue-specific factors in addition to those directing autoantigen expression.[1]


  1. Widespread expression of an autoantigen-GAD65 transgene does not tolerize non-obese diabetic mice and can exacerbate disease. Geng, L., Solimena, M., Flavell, R.A., Sherwin, R.S., Hayday, A.C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1998) [Pubmed]
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