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Endocrine/metabolic disease


IL-15; IL-15 receptor a-chain (IL-15RA)

Studies in mice and human samples suggest inhibiting IL-15 or IL-15RA could help treat type 1 diabetes. Mice expressing Il-15 and Il-15ra in pancreatic b cells developed markers of type 1 diabetes, including hyperglycemia and b cell destruction, and had higher serum levels of anti-insulin antibodies than wild-type controls. In this model and a second mouse model of type 1 diabetes, blocking Il-15 signaling delayed diabetes onset. Patient pancreatic tissue samples showed higher IL-15 and IL-15RA expression than samples from healthy controls. Next steps could include determining inducers of IL-15 and IL-15RA expression in human islets and identifying the immune cells that are activated in response to IL-15 production in islets.

SciBX 6(33); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.892
Published online Aug. 29, 2013

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Chen, J. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online July 31, 2013;
Contact: Thomas A. Waldmann, National Human Genome Research Institute, Rockville, Md.