Autoimmune diseases get the NOD

Observations in a mouse model of diabetes have led to the discovery of a human susceptibility locus.

By | February 19, 2001

Type 1 diabetes (also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, IDDM) is an autoimmune disease in which the patient's immune system destroys insulin-producing β cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. The NOD (non-obese diabetic) mouse has served as a powerful animal model for deciphering the complex genetic contributions to IDDM disease. In the February Nature Genetics, Morahan et al. describe the identification of IDDM18, a new locus associated with human type 1 diabetes, following a hint from studies of NOD mice (Nat Genet 2001, 27:218-221). A search for human homologs of NOD diabetes susceptibility loci led Morahan and colleagues to the human IL12B gene, which encodes a subunit of the interleukin 12 (IL-12) cytokine. They type 249 sibpairs for markers at the IL12B locus on chromosome 5q33-34. HLA-identical pairs showed strong linkage to this region. They identified a polymorphism in the 3' UTR of IL12B that appears to confer susceptibility by altering the levels of IL-12 expression. It is possible that the effect IL-12 has on regulating T-cell responses plays a role in other autoimmune diseases.

Popular Now

  1. Humans Never Stopped Evolving
    Features Humans Never Stopped Evolving

    The emergence of blood abnormalities, an adult ability to digest milk, and changes in our physical appearance point to the continued evolution of the human race.

  2. An Aging-Related Effect on the Circadian Clock
  3. Marching for Science, from Berlin to Sydney
  4. Abundant Sequence Errors in Public Databases
Business Birmingham