The phenotype of autoreactive T cells in type 1 diabetes is described as Th1, Th17 and/or Th21, but is largely uncharacterized. We combined multi-parameter cytokine profiling and proliferation, and identified GM-CSF producing cells as a component of the response to beta cell autoantigens proinsulin and GAD65. Overall cytokine profiles of CD4+ T cell were not altered in type 1 diabetes. In contrast, patients with recent onset type 1 diabetes had increased frequencies of proinsulin-responsive CD4+CD45RA- T cells producing GM-CSF (p=0.002), IFNγ (p=0.004), IL-17A (p=0.008), IL-21 (p=0.011), and IL-22 (p=0.007), and GAD65-responsive CD4+CD45RA- T cells producing IL-21 (p=0.039). CD4+ T cells with a GM-CSF+IFNγ-IL-17A-IL-21-IL-22- phenotype were increased in patients for responses to both proinsulin (p=0.006) and GAD65 (p=0.037). GM-CSF producing T cells are a novel phenotype in the repertoire of T helper cells in type 1 diabetes and consolidate a Th1/Th17 pro-inflammatory pathogenesis in the disease.
Keywords: Autoreactive T cells; Cytokines; GM-CSF; Memory CD4(+) T cell; TH1 immunity; Type 1 diabetes.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.