Type 1 diabetes — in which the immune system attacks pancreatic β -islet cells — is considered a T cell–mediated autoimmune disease but the influence of immunoglobulins on the progression of the disease remains unclear. In April Nature Medicine, Siri Atma Greeley and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, USA show that elimination of maternally transmitted islet β cell–reactive autoantibodies prevents diabetes in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice.

Greeley et al. observed that female mice lacking B-cells and animals genetically manipulated not to be able to produce insulin-specific antibodies, but still possessing B-cells, both yield fewer offspring with diabetes than normal mice. In addition, NOD embryos implanted in pseudopregnant mothers of a non-autoimmune strain are less likely to develop the disease than those implanted into normal mouse mothers (Nat Med 2002, 8:399-402).

"The new data should provide momentum to arguments that antibodies can indeed...

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