Immune cells that secrete the soluble molecule IL-17 (so called Th17 cells) have been implicated as central to several autoimmune diseases.
However, whether they contribute to the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes, which is commonly linked to immune cells that secrete the soluble molecule IFN-gamma (so called Th1 cells), has not been clearly determined.
While investigating this in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes, Anne Cooke and colleagues, at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, found that highly purified Th17 cells could cause diabetes in NOD/SCID mice, but that they converted to IFN-gamma secreting cells to do this, indicating that Th17 cells show substantial plasticity.
The research appears online, Feb. 2nd, 2009, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
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