Nanoparticles Containing an Insulin-ChgA Hybrid Peptide Protect from Transfer of Autoimmune Diabetes by Shifting the Balance between Effector T Cells and Regulatory T Cells.


Department of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045; [Email]


CD4 T cells play a critical role in promoting the development of autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes. The diabetogenic CD4 T cell clone BDC-2.5, originally isolated from a NOD mouse, has been widely used to study the contribution of autoreactive CD4 T cells and relevant Ags to autoimmune diabetes. Recent work from our laboratory has shown that the Ag for BDC-2.5 T cells is a hybrid insulin peptide (2.5HIP) consisting of an insulin C-peptide fragment fused to a peptide from chromogranin A (ChgA) and that endogenous 2.5HIP-reactive T cells are major contributors to autoimmune pathology in NOD mice. The objective of this study was to determine if poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG) nanoparticles (NPs) loaded with the 2.5HIP Ag (2.5HIP-coupled PLG NPs) can tolerize BDC-2.5 T cells. Infusion of 2.5HIP-coupled PLG NPs was found to prevent diabetes in an adoptive transfer model by impairing the ability of BDC-2.5 T cells to produce proinflammatory cytokines through induction of anergy, leading to an increase in the ratio of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells to IFN-γ+ effector T cells. To our knowledge, this work is the first to use a hybrid insulin peptide, or any neoepitope, to re-educate diabetogenic T cells and may have significant implications for the development of an Ag-specific therapy for type 1 diabetes patients.