Beneficial autoimmunity in Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Ehud Hauben, Maria Grazia Roncarolo, Uri Nevo, Michal Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The trigger that leads to the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes is currently unknown. It is well established that the pathophysiology of the disease is biphasic. In the first stage, leukocytes infiltrate the pancreatic islets in a response that does not cause damage. In the second phase, which occurs only in diabetes-prone individuals and strains, autoreactive T cells acquire aggressive potential and destroy the majority of the pancreatic islets. Rodents and humans exhibit a physiological ripple of apoptotic β-cell death shortly after birth, which induces an adaptive autoimmune response towards islet-antigens, both in diabetes-prone non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice and in mice that do not develop diabetes. Here, we propose that the early T cell-mediated autoimmune response towards islet-antigens is physiological, purposeful and beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-253
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


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