The role of TNF-α in mice with type 1- and 2- diabetes

PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e33254. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033254. Epub 2012 May 11.


Background: Previously, we have demonstrated that short-term treatment of new onset diabetic Non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, mice that are afflicted with both type 1 (T1D) and type 2 (T2D) diabetes with either Power Mix (PM) regimen or alpha1 antitrypsin (AAT) permanently restores euglycemia, immune tolerance to self-islets and normal insulin signaling.

Methodology and principal findings: To search for relevant therapeutic targets, we have applied genome wide transcriptional profiling and systems biology oriented bioinformatics analysis to examine the impact of the PM and AAT regimens upon pancreatic lymph node (PLN) and fat, a crucial tissue for insulin dependent glucose disposal, in new onset diabetic non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. Systems biology analysis identified tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) as the top focus gene hub, as determined by the highest degree of connectivity, in both tissues. In PLNs and fat, TNF-α interacted with 53% and 32% of genes, respectively, associated with reversal of diabetes by previous treatments and was thereby selected as a therapeutic target. Short-term anti-TNF-α treatment ablated a T cell-rich islet-invasive and beta cell-destructive process, thereby enhancing beta cell viability. Indeed anti-TNF-α treatment induces immune tolerance selective to syngeneic beta cells. In addition to these curative effects on T1D anti-TNF-α treatment restored in vivo insulin signaling resulting in restoration of insulin sensitivity.

Conclusions: In short, our molecular analysis suggested that PM and AAT both may act in part by quenching a detrimental TNF-α dependent effect in both fat and PLNs. Indeed, short-term anti-TNF-α mAb treatment restored enduring euglycemia, self-tolerance, and normal insulin signaling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Female
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / immunology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Systems Biology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / pharmacology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Insulin
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin