Dendritic cells transduced to express interleukin 4 reduce diabetes onset in both normoglycemic and prediabetic nonobese diabetic mice

PLoS One. 2010 Jul 29;5(7):e11848. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011848.


Background: We and others have previously demonstrated that treatment with bone marrow derived DC genetically modified to express IL-4 reduce disease pathology in mouse models of collagen-induced arthritis and delayed-type hypersensitivity. Moreover, treatment of normoglycemic NOD mice with bone marrow derived DC, genetically modified to express interleukin 4 (IL-4), reduces the onset of hyperglycemia in a significant number of animals. However, the mechanism(s) through which DC expressing IL-4 function to prevent autoimmune diabetes and whether this treatment can reverse disease in pre-diabetic NOD mice are unknown.

Methodology/principal findings: DC were generated from the bone marrow of NOD mice and transduced with adenoviral vectors encoding soluble murine IL-4 (DC/sIL-4), a membrane-bound IL-4 construct, or empty vector control. Female NOD mice were segregated into normoglycemic (<150 mg/dL) and prediabetic groups (between 150 and 250 mg/dL) on the basis of blood glucose measurements, and randomized for adoptive transfer of 10(6) DC via a single i.v. injection. A single injection of DC/sIL-4, when administered to normoglycemic 12-week old NOD mice, significantly reduced the number of mice that developed diabetes. Furthermore, DC/sIL-4, but not control DC, decreased the number of mice progressing to diabetes when given to prediabetic NOD mice 12-16 weeks of age. DC/sIL-4 treatment also significantly reduced islet mononuclear infiltration and increased the expression of FoxP3 in the pancreatic lymph nodes of a subset of treated animals. Furthermore, DC/sIL-4 treatment altered the antigen-specific Th2:Th1 cytokine profiles as determined by ELISPOT of splenocytes in treated animals.

Conclusions: Adoptive transfer of DC transduced to express IL-4 into both normoglycemic and prediabetic NOD mice is an effective treatment for T1D.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Hyperglycemia / genetics
  • Hyperglycemia / therapy
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prediabetic State / genetics
  • Prediabetic State / therapy*


  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxp3 protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-4