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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2011, Article ID 513210, 16 pages
Review Article

T Cell Recognition of Autoantigens in Human Type 1 Diabetes: Clinical Perspectives

1INSERM, U986, Hôpital St Vincent de Paul, 82 avenue Denfert Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
2Université Paris Descartes, 75005 Paris, France
3Hôpital Cochin-Hôtel Dieu, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, 75679 Paris, France

Received 10 February 2011; Accepted 18 March 2011

Academic Editor: Vincent Geenen

Copyright © 2011 Roberto Mallone et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease driven by the activation of lymphocytes against pancreatic β-cells. Among β-cell autoantigens, preproinsulin has been ascribed a key role in the T1D process. The successive steps that control the activation of autoreactive lymphocytes have been extensively studied in animal models of T1D, but remains ill defined in man. In man, T lymphocytes, especially CD8+ T cells, are predominant within insulitis. Developing T-cell assays in diabetes autoimmunity is, thus, a major challenge. It is expected to help defining autoantigens and epitopes that drive the disease process, to pinpoint key functional features of epitope-specific T lymphocytes along the natural history of diabetes and to pave the way towards therapeutic strategies to induce immune tolerance to β-cells. New T-cell technologies will allow defining autoreactive T-cell differentiation programs and characterizing autoimmune responses in comparison with physiologically appropriate immune responses. This may prove instrumental in the discovery of immune correlates of efficacy in clinical trials.