Oxidative stress and redox modulation potential in type 1 diabetes

Clin Dev Immunol. 2011;2011:593863. doi: 10.1155/2011/593863. Epub 2011 May 18.


Redox reactions are imperative to preserving cellular metabolism yet must be strictly regulated. Imbalances between reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants can initiate oxidative stress, which without proper resolve, can manifest into disease. In type 1 diabetes (T1D), T-cell-mediated autoimmune destruction of pancreatic β-cells is secondary to the primary invasion of macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) into the islets. Macrophages/DCs, however, are activated by intercellular ROS from resident pancreatic phagocytes and intracellular ROS formed after receptor-ligand interactions via redox-dependent transcription factors such as NF-κB. Activated macrophages/DCs ferry β-cell antigens specifically to pancreatic lymph nodes, where they trigger reactive T cells through synapse formation and secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and more ROS. ROS generation, therefore, is pivotal in formulating both innate and adaptive immune responses accountable for islet cell autoimmunity. The importance of ROS/oxidative stress as well as potential for redox modulation in the context of T1D will be discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / immunology
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / immunology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species