B-Lymphocytes Expressing an Ig Specificity Recognizing the Pancreatic beta-Cell Autoantigen Peripherin Are Potent Contributors to Type 1 Diabetes Development in NOD Mice
Although the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic b-cells underlying type 1 diabetes (T1D) development is ultimately mediated by T cells in NOD mice and also likely in humans, B cells play an additional key pathogenic role. It appears that the expression of plasma membrane–bound Ig molecules that efficiently capture b-cell antigens allows autoreactive B cells that bypass normal tolerance induction processes to be the subset of antigen-presenting cells most efficiently activating diabetogenic T cells. NOD mice transgenically expressing Ig molecules recognizing antigens that are (insulin) or are not (hen egg lysozyme [HEL]) expressed by b-cells have proven useful in dissecting the developmental basis of diabetogenic B cells. However, these transgenic Ig specificities were originally selected for their ability to recognize insulin or HEL as foreign, rather than autoantigens. Thus, we generated and characterized NOD mice transgenically expressing an Ig molecule representative of a large proportion of naturally occurring islet-infiltrating B cells in NOD mice recognizing the neuronal antigen peripherin. Transgenic peripherin-autoreactive B cells infiltrate NOD pancreatic islets, acquire an activated proliferative phenotype, and potently support accelerated T1D development. These results support the concept of neuronal autoimmunity as a pathogenic feature of T1D, and targeting such responses could ultimately provide an effective disease intervention approach.