Evidence for superantigen involvement in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus aetiology

Bernard Conrad, Eckhart Weidmann, Giuliana Trucco, William A. Rudert, Roubik Behboo, Camillo Ricordi, Horacio Rodriquez-Rilo, David Finegold, Massimo Trucco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

304 Scopus citations


Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) is a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease whose onset is believed to be triggered by unknown environmental factors acting on a predisposing genetic background. Islet-infiltrating T(IIT) cells from two IDDM patients, who had died at the onset of the disease from brain swelling as a complication of ketoacidosis, were analysed. The results provided evidence for the involvement of a pancreatic islet cell membrane-bound superantigen as a diabetes aetiopathogenetic factor. There was a selective expansion of a T-cell receptor (TCR) variable segment of the β-chain (Vβ7) in these IIT cells in association with unselected Vα-chain segments; extensive junctional diversity of the TCR Vβ7 chains; and evidence of positive selection, after exposure to diabetic islet cell membrane preparations, of Vβ7+ T-cell clones among peripheral blood lymphocytes from non-diabetic individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-355
Number of pages5
Issue number6495
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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