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Upregulation of HLA class II in pancreatic beta cells from organ donors with type 1 diabetes – published online 21/12/2021

Quesada-Masachs graphical abstract

Estefania Quesada-Masachs, Samuel Zilberman, Sakthi Rajendran, Tiffany Chu, Sara McArdle, William B. Kiosses, Jae-Hyun M. Lee, Burcak Yesildag, Mehdi A. Benkahla, Agnieszka Pawlowska, Madeleine Graef, Susanne Pfeiffer, Zbigniew Mikulski, Matthias von Herrath

For many decades, the question of whether HLA class II can be expressed by pancreatic beta cells has been controversial. In this issue, Quesada-Masachs et al ( report that HLA class II is upregulated in islets of pancreatic tissue sections from organ donors with type 1 diabetes: 28% of the beta cells from the patients with type 1 diabetes expressed HLA class II. Immunofluorescence microscopy was used to thoroughly quantify HLA class II in situ, using a machine learning approach. Furthermore, the authors report that healthy human islets stimulated with proinflammatory cytokines upregulate HLA class I and class II, as measured by quantitative fluorescent microscopy and RNA sequencing. The authors suggest that a crosstalk could exist between beta cells and CD4+ T cells in type 1 diabetes, although further research is necessary to demonstrate this cellular communication and elucidate its biological role in disease initiation and progression.

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