Reversal of autoimmunity by mixed chimerism enables reactivation of β cells and transdifferentiation of α cells in diabetic NOD mice
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) results from the autoimmune destruction of β cells, so cure of firmly established T1D requires both reversal of autoimmunity and restoration of β cells. It is known that β cell regeneration in nonautoimmune diabetic mice can come from differentiation of progenitors and/or transdifferentiation of α cells. However, the source of β cell regeneration in autoimmune nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice remains unclear. Here, we show that, after reversal of autoimmunity by induction of
... y by induction of haploidentical mixed chimerism, administration of gastrin plus epidermal growth factor augments β cell regeneration and normalizes blood glucose in the firmly established diabetic NOD mice. Using transgenic NOD mice with inducible lineage-tracing markers for insulin-producing β cells, Sox9+ ductal progenitors, Nestin+ mesenchymal stem cells, and glucagon-producing α cells, we have found that both reactivation of dysfunctional low-level insulin expression (insulinlo) β cells and neogenesis contribute to the regeneration, with the latter predominantly coming from transdifferentiation of α cells. These results indicate that, after reversal of autoimmunity, reactivation of β cells and transdifferentiation of α cells can provide sufficient new functional β cells to reach euglycemia in firmly established T1D.