Th17 cells are involved in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases, but it is not clear whether they play a pathogenic role in type 1 diabetes. Here we investigated whether mouse Th17 cells with specificity for an islet antigen can induce diabetes upon transfer into NOD/SCID recipient mice. Induction of diabetes in NOD/SCID mice via adoptive transfer of Th1 cells from BDC2.5 transgenic mice was prevented by treatment of the recipient mice with a neutralizing IFN-γ–specific antibody. This result suggested a major role of Th1 cells in the induction of disease in this model of type 1 diabetes. Nevertheless, transfer of highly purified Th17 cells from BDC2.5 transgenic mice caused diabetes in NOD/SCID recipients with similar rates of onset as in transfer of Th1 cells. However, treatment with neutralizing IL-17–specific antibodies did not prevent disease. Instead, the transferred Th17 cells, completely devoid of IFN-γ at the time of transfer, rapidly converted to secrete IFN-γ in the NOD/SCID recipients. Purified Th17 cells also upregulated Tbet and secreted IFN-γ upon exposure to IL-12 in vitro and in vivo in NOD/SCID recipients. These results indicate substantial plasticity of Th17 commitment toward a Th1-like profile.
David Bending, Hugo De La Peña, Marc Veldhoen, Jenny M. Phillips, Catherine Uyttenhove, Brigitta Stockinger, Anne Cooke
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. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, 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.