The non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model of autoimmune (type 1) diabetes has contributed greatly to our understanding of disease pathogenesis and has facilitated the development and testing of therapeutic strategies to combat the disease. Although the model is a valuable immunological tool in its own right, it reaches its fullest potential in areas where its findings translate to the human disease. Perhaps the foremost example of this is the field of T-cell antigen discovery, from which diverse benefits can be derived, including the development of antigen-specific disease interventions. The majority of NOD T-cell antigens are also targets of T-cell autoimmunity in patients with type 1 diabetes, and several of these are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Here we review the journeys of these antigens from bench to bedside. We also discuss several recently identified NOD T-cell autoantigens whose translational potential warrants further investigation.
© 2010 The Authors. Immunology © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.