• Viral infection prevents diabetes by inducing regulatory T cells through NKT cellâ plasmacytoid dendritic cell interplay

      Diana, Julien; Brezar, Vedran; Beaudoin, Lucie; Dalod, Marc; Mellor, Andrew L.; Tafuri, Anna; von Herrath, Matthias; Boitard, Christian; Mallone, Roberto; Lehuen, Agnes; et al. (2011-04-11)
      Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease resulting from T cellâ mediated destruction of insulin-producing β cells, and viral infections can prevent the onset of disease. Invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells) exert a regulatory role in T1D by inhibiting autoimmune T cell responses. As iNKT cellâ plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC) cooperation controls viral replication in the pancreatic islets, we investigated whether this cellular cross talk could interfere with T1D development during viral infection. Using both virus-induced and spontaneous mouse models of T1D, we show that upon viral infection, iNKT cells induce TGF-βâ producing pDCs in the pancreatic lymph nodes (LNs). These tolerogenic pDCs convert naive anti-islet T cells into Foxp3+ CD4+ regulatory T cells (T reg cells) in pancreatic LNs. T reg cells are then recruited into the pancreatic islets where they produce TGF-β, which dampens the activity of viral- and islet-specific CD8+ T cells, thereby preventing T1D development in both T1D models. These findings reveal a crucial cooperation between iNKT cells, pDCs, and T reg cells for prevention of T1D by viral infection.