Programmed death-1 restrains the germinal center in type 1 diabetes

Tijana Martinov, Linnea A. Swanson, Elise R. Breed, Christopher G. Tucker, Alexander J. Dwyer, Jenna K. Johnson, Jason S. Mitchell, Nathanael L. Sahli, Joseph C. Wilson, Lovejot M. Singh, Kristin A. Hogquist, Justin A. Spanier, Brian T. Fife

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Programmed death-1 (PD-1) inhibits T and B cell function upon ligand binding. PD-1 blockade revolutionized cancer treatment, and although numerous patients respond, some develop autoimmune-like symptoms or overt autoimmunity characterized by autoantibody production. PD-1 inhibition accelerates autoimmunity in mice, but its role in regulating germinal centers (GC) is controversial. To address the role of PD-1 in the GC reaction in type 1 diabetes, we used tetramers to phenotype insulin-specific CD4+ T and B cells in NOD mice. PD-1 or PD-L1 deficiency, and PD-1 but not PD-L2 blockade, unleashed insulin-specific T follicular helper CD4+ T cells and enhanced their survival. This was concomitant with an increase in GC B cells and augmented insulin autoantibody production. The effect of PD-1 blockade on the GC was reduced when mice were treated with a mAb targeting the insulin peptide:MHC class II complex. This work provides an explanation for autoimmune side effects following PD-1 pathway inhibition and suggests that targeting the self-peptide:MHC class II complex might limit autoimmunity arising from checkpoint blockade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-852
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019


PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Cite this

Martinov, T., Swanson, L. A., Breed, E. R., Tucker, C. G., Dwyer, A. J., Johnson, J. K., Mitchell, J. S., Sahli, N. L., Wilson, J. C., Singh, L. M., Hogquist, K. A., Spanier, J. A., & Fife, B. T. (2019). Programmed death-1 restrains the germinal center in type 1 diabetes. Journal of Immunology, 203(4), 844-852.