Research ArticleIMMUNOLOGY

Islet expression of type I interferon response sensors is associated with immune infiltration and viral infection in type 1 diabetes

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Science Advances  24 Feb 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 9, eabd6527
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd6527


Previous results indicate the presence of an interferon (IFN) signature in type 1 diabetes (T1D), capable of inducing chronic inflammation and compromising b cell function. Here, we determined the expression of the IFN response markers MxA, PKR, and HLA-I in the islets of autoantibody-positive and T1D donors. We found that these markers can be coexpressed in the same islet, are more abundant in insulin-containing islets, are highly expressed in islets with insulitis, and their expression levels are correlated with the presence of the enteroviral protein VP1. The expression of these markers was associated with down-regulation of multiple genes in the insulin secretion pathway. The coexistence of an IFN response and a microbial stress response is likely to prime islets for immune destruction. This study highlights the importance of therapeutic interventions aimed at eliminating potentially persistent infections and diminishing inflammation in individuals with T1D.

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