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Gene expression profiling in NOD mice reveals that B cells are highly educated by the pancreatic environment during autoimmune diabetes

Boldison, Joanne, Hopkinson, Jessica R., Davies, Joanne, Pearson, James A. ORCID:, Leete, Pia, Richardson, Sarah, Morgan, Noel G. and Wong, F. Susan 2022. Gene expression profiling in NOD mice reveals that B cells are highly educated by the pancreatic environment during autoimmune diabetes. Diabetologia 66 (3) , pp. 551-566. 10.1007/s00125-022-05839-7

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Aims/hypothesis: B cells play an important role in driving the development of type 1 diabetes; however, it remains unclear how they contribute to local beta cell destruction during disease progression. Here, we use gene expression profiling of B cell subsets identified in inflamed pancreatic tissue to explore their primary functional role during the progression of autoimmune diabetes. Methods: Transcriptional profiling was performed on FACS-sorted B cell subsets isolated from pancreatic islets and the pancreatic lymph nodes of NOD mice. Results: B cells are highly modified by the inflamed pancreatic tissue and can be distinguished by their transcriptional profile from those in the lymph nodes. We identified both a discrete and a core shared gene expression profile in islet CD19+CD138– and CD19+CD138+ B cell subsets, the latter of which is known to have enriched autoreactivity during diabetes development. On localisation to pancreatic islets, compared with CD138– B cells, CD138+ B cells overexpress genes associated with adhesion molecules and growth factors. Their shared signature consists of gene expression changes related to the differentiation of antibody-secreting cells and gene regulatory networks associated with IFN signalling pathways, proinflammatory cytokines and Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation. Finally, abundant TLR7 expression was detected in islet B cells and was enhanced specifically in CD138+ B cells. Conclusions/interpretation: Our study provides a detailed transcriptional analysis of islet B cells. Specific gene signatures and interaction networks have been identified that point towards a functional role for B cells in driving autoimmune diabetes. Graphical abstract:

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0012-186X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 February 2023
Date of Acceptance: 10 October 2022
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 20:28

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