Type 1 diabetes pathogenesis and the role of inhibitory receptors in islet tolerance

Tijana Martinov, Brian T Fife

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) affects over a million Americans, and disease incidence is on the rise. Despite decades of research, there is still no cure for this disease. Exciting beta cell replacement strategies are being developed, but in order for such approaches to work, targeted immunotherapies must be designed. To selectively halt the autoimmune response, researchers must first understand how this response is regulated and which tolerance checkpoints fail during T1D development. Herein, we discuss the current understanding of T1D pathogenesis in humans, genetic and environmental risk factors, presumed roles of CD4 + and CD8 + T cells as well as B cells, and implicated autoantigens. We also highlight studies in non-obese diabetic mice that have demonstrated the requirement for CD4 + and CD8 + T cells and B cells in driving T1D pathology. We present an overview of central and peripheral tolerance mechanisms and comment on existing controversies in the field regarding central tolerance. Finally, we discuss T cell– and B cell–intrinsic tolerance mechanisms, with an emphasis on the roles of inhibitory receptors in maintaining islet tolerance in humans and in diabetes-prone mice, and strategies employed to date to harness inhibitory receptor signaling to prevent or reverse T1D.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein-4
  • lymphocyte activation gene-3
  • non-obese diabetic mice
  • programmed death-1
  • tolerance
  • type 1 diabetes

PubMed: MeSH publication types

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

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