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Åke Lernmark

Principal investigator

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In vitro lymphocyte recognition of islet cells following in vivo priming with allogeneic murine pancreatic islets


  • J. Scott
  • P. G. MacKay
  • A. Lernmark

Summary, in English

Lymphocytes from patients with insulin-dependent diabetes have been shown to be sensitized to pancreatic tissue antigens. Mice immunized with homologous pancreatic islets have been found to develop glucose intolerance and insulitis. Since lymphocytes may be involved in diabetogenesis, we wished to determine if lymph node cells from islet-immunized mice can recognize and respond to islet cells in vitro. A.TL female mice were immunized with an emulsion of BALB/c islet homogenate and complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA); sham-treated A.TL mice were injected with adjuvant and water. Mice were sacrificed 7-8 days later and the draining lymph nodes were removed. The lymph node cells were co-cultured with freshly prepared irradiated BALB/c islet cell, which served as stimulator cells. The co-cultures were incubated for 24-26 h at 37° C, followed by a 16 h [3H]thymidine (TdR) pulse. A significant proliferation of lymph node cells from islet-primed mice was induced during the in vitro stimulation with irradiated islet cells when compared with lymph node cells from sham-treated mice (P < 0.001). The response may be islet-cell-specific, since irradiated lymph node cells from BALB/c mice failed to elicit a proliferative response under the same culture conditions (P > 0.80). It is suggested that pancreatic islet cells have an ability to stimulate proliferation of lymphocytes which recognize islet-cell-specific antigens. This lymphocyte recognition phenomenon may be relevant to our understanding of autoimmune mechanisms in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

Publishing year







Acta Endocrinologica





Document type

Journal article


Society of the European Journal of Endocrinology




  • ISSN: 0001-5598