Type 1 diabetes is one of the hardest to manage and almost impossible to reverse, usually requiring a life-long dependence of daily injections of insulin. A new study from Uppsala University has indicated a new treatment for type 1 diabetes involving interleukin-35 (a protein produced by immune cells).
The scientists used a mouse model to investigate so-called immune regulatory T cells’ actions in T1D mouse models. The study shows that the immune regulatory T cells alter their function by producing pro-inflammatory destructive proteins instead of protective anti-inflammatory proteins such as interleukin-35 (IL-35) under T1D conditions.
Mice were injected with a chemical to induce type 1 diabetes. These mice developed signs of TID and blood glucose levels similar to humans suffering from type 1 diabetes. IL-35 injections given after disease induction prevented the mice from developing T1D. Mice who were diabetic for two consecutive days were normalized after IL-35 injections and their diabetes was reversed.
“This suggests that the good guys have gone bad in early development of Type 1 diabetes and therefore our immune cells destroy the beta cell,” said Dr. Kailash Singh, a PhD student in professor Stellan Sandler’s research group at the Department of Medical Cell Biology at Uppsala University.
“To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to show that IL-35 can reverse established Type 1 diabetes in two different mouse models and that the concentration of the particular cytokine is lower in Type 1 diabetes patients than in healthy individuals. Also, we are providing an insight into a novel mechanism: how immune regulatory T cells change their fate under autoimmune conditions,” said Dr. Kailash Singh.
Kailash Singh, Erik Kadesjö, Julia Lindroos, Marcus Hjort, Marcus Lundberg, Daniel Espes, Per-Ola Carlsson, Stellan Sandler, Lina Thorvaldson. Interleukin-35 administration counteracts established murine type 1 diabetes – possible involvement of regulatory T cells. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 12633 DOI: 10.1038/srep12633