Islet cell transplantation tolerance

Transplantation. 2001 Oct 27;72(8 Suppl):S43-6.


Curative islet transplantation for type 1 diabetes currently requires lifelong systemic immunosuppression. Induction of islet transplantation tolerance would be far preferable. We have previously demonstrated that blockade of costimulation by the administration of a donor-specific transfusion in combination with anti-CD154 monoclonal antibody leads to permanent islet and prolonged skin allograft survival in mice. The protocol requires the presence of CD4+ T cells, interferon-gamma, and CTLA4, and involves the deletion of CD8+ alloreactive T cells. Translation of this strategy into clinical practice will, however, require attention to at least two issues. First, we have observed that the presence of viral infection during tolerance interferes with tolerance induction. Second, we have observed that our tolerance induction protocol is ineffective in autoimmune nonobese diabetic mice. We hypothesize that resistance to tolerance induction in nonobese diabetic mice is due to the presence of memory autoreactive cells. To overcome the deleterious effects of viral infection and of primed memory responses, it may be necessary to modify current tolerance induction strategies based on costimulatory blockade. These modifications may require patient isolation, the generation of hematopoietic chimerism, or treatments that target the specific T-cell populations, cytokines, and/or costimulatory factors responsible for resistance. Such modifications may make it possible to extend tolerance induction to the "real world" situation of individuals with type 1 diabetes who are likely to harbor both memory allo-and autoreactive immune cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD40 Ligand / physiology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD


  • CD40 Ligand