Successful reversal of streptozotocin-induced diabetes with stable allogeneic islet function in a preclinical model of type 1 diabetes

Academic Article


  • The recent focus on islet transplantation as primary therapy for type 1 diabetes has heightened interest in the reversal of type 1 diabetes in preclinical models using minimal immunosuppression. Here, we demonstrated in a preclinical rhesus model a consistent reversal of all measured glycemic patterns of streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetes. The model used single-donor islet transplantation with induction of operational tolerance. The term "operational tolerance" is used to indicate durable survival of single-donor major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-mismatched islet allografts without maintenance immunosuppressive therapy and without rejection or loss of functional islet mass or insulin secretory reserve. In this operational tolerance model, all immunosuppression was discontinued after day 14 posttransplant, and recipients recovered with excellent health. The operational tolerance induction protocol combined peritransplant anti-CD3 immunotoxin to deplete T-cells and 15-deoxyspergualin to arrest proinflammatory cytokine production and maturation of dendritic cells. T-cell deficiency was specific but temporary, in that T-cell-dependent responses in long-term survivors recovered to normal, and there was no evidence of increased susceptibility to infection. Anti-donor mixed lymphocyte reaction responses were positive in the long-term survivors, but all showed clear evidence of systemic T-helper 2 deviation, suggesting that an immunoregulatory rather than a deletional process underlies this operational tolerance model. This study provides the first evidence that operational tolerance can protect MHC nonhuman primate islets from rejection as well as loss of functional islet mass. Such an approach has potential to optimize individual recipient recovery from diabetes as well as permitting more widespread islet transplantation with the limited supply of donor islets.
  • Published In

  • Diabetes  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Thomas JM; Contreras JL; Smyth CA; Lobashevsky A; Jenkins S; Hubbard WJ; Eckhoff DE; Stavrou S; Neville DM; Thomas FT
  • Start Page

  • 1227
  • End Page

  • 1236
  • Volume

  • 50
  • Issue

  • 6