A potential breakthrough into delaying the onset of type 1 diabetes has been made by US researchers.
A trial involving a subset of immune cells could mean researchers are one step closer to preventing type 1 diabetes.
The research, carried out by the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Michigan Medical School, was based around a group of immune B cells, known as CD19+IgM+ B cells and the role they play in the immune system.
Through their work, they were able to delay the onset of the condition in mice
Corresponding author Dr Massimo Pietropaolo, professor of medicine-endocrinology and McNair scholar at Baylor College of Medicine, said: “For many years, one of the research interests of my lab has been to better understand the role the immune system plays in type 1 diabetes.”
Previous studies have already shown that B cells can directly contribute to the development of diabetes. However, Dr Pietropaolo did say there is also evidence to suggest that subsets of these cells could represent a way of modulating and preventing the condition.
He added: “For instance, elimination of a specific subset of B cells carrying the μ-chain marker resulted in impaired diabetes progression in a mouse model.”
The trial involved transferring CD19+ IgM+ B cells to the mice, which they say delayed type 1 diabetes from developing.
Dr Pietropaolo said: “We are the first to describe that CD19+ IgM+ B cells play a strong regulatory effect that delays diabetes onset in a mouse model. Taken together, our results open the future possibility of developing new therapies for this disease by expanding this specific B cell subtype pharmacologically and in turn modulating their regulatory actions in ways that would interfere with the onset of type 1 diabetes.”
The findings have been published in the JCI Insight journal.

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