Journal Article Haploinsufficiency of interferon regulatory factor 4 strongly protects against autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice

Akazawa, Satoru  ,  Kobayashi, Masakazu  ,  Kuriya, Genpei  ,  Horie, Ichiro  ,  Yu, Liping  ,  Yamasaki, Hironori  ,  Okita, Minoru  ,  Nagayama, Yuji  ,  Matsuyama, Toshifumi  ,  Akbari, Masoud  ,  Yui, Katsuyuki  ,  Kawakami, Atsushi  ,  Abiru, Norio

58 ( 11 )  , pp.2606 - 2614 , 2015-11 , Springer Verlag
Aims/hypothesis: Interferon regulatory factor (IRF)4 plays a critical role in lymphoid development and the regulation of immune responses. Genetic deletion of IRF4 has been shown to suppress autoimmune disease in several mouse models, but its role in autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice remains unknown. Methods: To address the role of IRF4 in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice, we generated IRF4-knockout NOD mice and investigated the impact of the genetic deletion of IRF4 on diabetes, insulitis and insulin autoantibody; the effector function of T cells in vivo and in vitro; and the proportion of dendritic cell subsets. Results: Heterozygous IRF4-deficient NOD mice maintained the number and phenotype of T cells at levels similar to NOD mice. However, diabetes and autoantibody production were completely suppressed in both heterozygous and homozygous IRF4-deficient NOD mice. The level of insulitis was strongly suppressed in both heterozygous and homozygous IRF4-deficient mice, with minimal insulitis observed in heterozygous mice. An adoptive transfer study revealed that IRF4 deficiency conferred disease resistance in a gene-dose-dependent manner in recipient NOD/severe combined immunodeficiency mice. Furthermore, the proportion of migratory dendritic cells in lymph nodes was reduced in heterozygous and homozygous IRF4-deficient NOD mice in an IRF4 dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that the levels of IRF4 in T cells and dendritic cells are important for the pathogenesis of diabetes in NOD mice. Conclusions/interpretation: Haploinsufficiency of IRF4 halted disease development in NOD mice. Our findings suggest that an IRF4-targeted strategy might be useful for modulating autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes.

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