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Circulating β cell‐specific CD8+ T cells restricted by high-risk HLA class I molecules show antigen experience in children with and at risk of type 1 diabetes

Yeo, L., Pujol-Autonell, I., Baptista, R., Eichmann, M., Kronenberg-Versteeg, D., Heck, S., Dolton, G., Sewell, A. K., Härkönen, T., Mikk, M.L., Toppari, J., Veijola, R., Knip, M., Ilonen, J. and Peakman, M. 2020. Circulating β cell‐specific CD8+ T cells restricted by high-risk HLA class I molecules show antigen experience in children with and at risk of type 1 diabetes. Clinical and Experimental Immunology 199 (3) , pp. 263-277. 10.1111/cei.13391

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In type 1 diabetes (T1D), autoreactive cytotoxic CD8+ T cells are implicated in the destruction of insulin‐producing β cells. The HLA‐B*3906 and HLA‐A*2402 class I genes confer increased risk and promote early disease onset, suggesting that CD8+ T cells that recognize peptides presented by these class I molecules on pancreatic β cells play a pivotal role in the autoimmune response. We examined the frequency and phenotype of circulating preproinsulin (PPI)‐specific and insulin B (InsB)‐specific CD8+ T cells in HLA‐B*3906+ children newly diagnosed with T1D and in high‐risk HLA‐A*2402+ children before the appearance of disease‐specific autoantibodies and before diagnosis of T1D. Antigen‐specific CD8+ T cells were detected using human leucocyte antigen (HLA) class I tetramers and flow cytometry was used to assess memory status. In HLA‐B*3906+ children with T1D, we observed an increase in PPI5–12‐specific transitional memory CD8+ T cells compared to non‐diabetic, age‐ and HLA‐matched subjects. Furthermore, PPI5–12‐specific CD8+ T cells in HLA‐B*3906+ children with T1D showed a significantly more antigen‐experienced phenotype compared to polyclonal CD8+ T cells. In longitudinal samples from high‐risk HLA‐A*2402+ children, the percentage of terminal effector cells within the InsB15–24‐specific CD8+ T cells was increased before diagnosis relative to samples taken before the appearance of autoantibodies. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to report HLA‐B*3906‐restricted autoreactive CD8+ T cells in T1D. Collectively, our results provide evidence that β cell‐reactive CD8+ T cells restricted by disease‐associated HLA class I molecules display an antigen‐experienced phenotype and acquire enhanced effector function during the period leading to clinical diagnosis, implicating these cells in driving disease.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0009-9104
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 December 2019
Date of Acceptance: 24 October 2019
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2020 15:38

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