Viruses can cause but can also prevent autoimmune disease. This dualism has certainly hampered attempts to establish a causal relationship between viral infections and type 1 diabetes (T1D). To develop a better mechanistic understanding of how viruses can influence the development of autoimmune disease, we exposed prediabetic mice to various viral infections. We used the well-established NOD and transgenic RIP-LCMV models of autoimmune diabetes. In both cases, infection with the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) completely abrogated the diabetic process. Interestingly, such therapeutic viral infections resulted in a rapid recruitment of T lymphocytes from the islet infiltrate to the pancreatic draining lymph node, where increased apoptosis was occurring. In both models this was associated with a selective and extensive expression of the chemokine IP-10 (CXCL10), which predominantly attracts activated T lymphocytes, in the pancreatic draining lymph node, and in RIP-LCMV mice it depended on the viral antigenic load. In RIP-LCMV mice, blockade of TNF-α or IFN-γ in vivo abolished the prevention of T1D. Thus, virally induced proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines can influence the ongoing autoaggressive process beneficially at the preclinical stage, if produced at the correct location, time, and levels.
Urs Christen, Dirk Benke, Tom Wolfe, Evelyn Rodrigo, Antje Rhode, Anna C. Hughes, Michael B.A. Oldstone, Matthias G. von Herrath
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.