Is innervation an early target in autoimmune diabetes?

Trends Immunol. 2003 Nov;24(11):574-9. doi: 10.1016/


In the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse, a spontaneous model of type 1 diabetes (T1D), recent evidence suggests that Schwann cells (Scs) and neurons surrounding insulin-producing beta cells of the islets of Langerhans are destroyed before beta cells. During normal perinatal development, macrophages (MPhi) are involved in phagocytosis of apoptotic neurons. Pertinently, MPhi are already present at birth in NOD pancreata. Their possible abnormal control of nerve phagocytosis, together with transient beta-cell hyperactivity and lymphocyte anomalies, might conjointly participate in T1D pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology
  • Islets of Langerhans / immunology
  • Islets of Langerhans / innervation
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Models, Immunological
  • Nervous System / immunology*
  • Nervous System / pathology
  • Neuroimmunomodulation
  • Phagocytosis