Research ArticleAutoimmunity

Enhanced T cell responses to IL-6 in type 1 diabetes are associated with early clinical disease and increased IL-6 receptor expression

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Science Translational Medicine  14 Sep 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 356, pp. 356ra119
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad9943

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IL-6 signaling implicated in diabetes

Autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes are caused by dysregulation of the immune system, which can potentially be corrected with therapeutic intervention. Hundhausen et al. report that, relative to healthy controls, T cells from individuals with type 1 diabetes are more sensitive to stimulation by the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6). This increased responsiveness was due, in part, to higher IL-6 receptor expression on diabetic T cells and also led to expression of migratory markers that could allow autoreactive T cells to traffic to the pancreas. These results suggest that targeting the IL-6 pathway may help ameliorate type 1 diabetes.