Resident macrophages of pancreatic islets have a seminal role in the initiation of autoimmune diabetes of NOD mice

Javier A. Carrero, Derrick P. McCarthy, Stephen T. Ferris, Xiaoxiao Wan, Hao Hu, Bernd H. Zinselmeyer, Anthony N. Vomund, Emil R. Unanue

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99 Scopus citations


Treatment of C57BL/6 or NOD mice with a monoclonal antibody to the CSF-1 receptor resulted in depletion of the resident macrophages of pancreatic islets of Langerhans that lasted for several weeks. Depletion of macrophages in C57BL/6 mice did not affect multiple parameters of islet function, including glucose response, insulin content, and transcriptional profile. In NOD mice depleted of islet-resident macrophages starting at 3 wk of age, several changes occurred: (i) the early entrance of CD4 T cells and dendritic cells into pancreatic islets was reduced, (ii) presentation of insulin epitopes by dispersed islet cells to T cells was impaired, and (iii) the development of autoimmune diabetes was significantly reduced. Treatment of NOD mice starting at 10 wk of age, when the autoimmune process has progressed, also significantly reduced the incidence of diabetes. Despite the absence of diabetes, NOD mice treated with anti–CSF-1 receptor starting at 3 or 10 wk of age still contained variably elevated leukocytic infiltrates in their islets when examined at 20–40 wk of age. Diabetes occurred in the anti–CSF-1 receptor protected mice after treatment with a blocking antibody directed against PD-1. We conclude that treatment of NOD mice with an antibody against CSF-1 receptor reduced diabetes incidence and led to the development of a regulatory pathway that controlled autoimmune progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E10418-E10427
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 28 2017


  • Islets of Langerhans
  • Macrophage
  • Nonobese diabetic mouse
  • Regulation
  • Type 1 diabetes


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