Cytotoxic CD8 T lymphocytes (CTL) are effectors of pancreatic islet beta-cell destruction in type 1 diabetes but, with the exception of a single report, CTL to islet antigen peptides have not been identified. We used autologous blood monocyte-derived dendritic cells to elicit HLA-A2-restricted CTL to a peptide, MVWESGCTV (aa 797-805), that is contiguous with a dominant CD4 T-cell epitope in the islet antigen tyrosine phosphatase IA-2. IA-2 peptide-specific CTL activity measured as 51Cr release from autologous lymphoblasts was detected in 2/6 islet antibody-positive relatives at high risk for type 1 diabetes but also in 2/6 closely HLA-matched controls. All subjects had CTL activity to an HLA-A2-restricted Epstein-Barr virus peptide. CTL to the IA-2 self-peptide were therefore not disease-specific, consistent with other evidence that autoreactive T cells are present in healthy individuals.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.