Insulin as an autoantigen in NOD/human diabetes

Curr Opin Immunol. 2008 Feb;20(1):111-8. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2007.11.005.


Although multiple islet autoantigens are recognized by T lymphocytes and autoantibodies before the development of type 1A (immune-mediated diabetes), there is increasing evidence that autoimmunity to insulin may be central to disease pathogenesis. Evidence is strongest for the NOD mouse model where blocking immune responses to insulin prevents diabetes, and insulin peptides can be utilized to induce diabetes. In man insulin gene polymorphisms are associated with disease risk, and autoantibodies and T cells reacting with multiple insulin/proinsulin epitopes are present. It is not currently clear why insulin autoimmunity is so prominent and frequent, and though insulin can be used to immunologically prevent diabetes of NOD mice, insulin-based preventive immunoregulation of diabetes in man is not yet possible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / biosynthesis
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Insulin / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Insulin