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Rev Diabet Stud, 2005, 2(3):121-135 DOI 10.1900/RDS.2005.2.121

B Cells in Autoimmune Diabetes

F. Susan Wong1, Li Wen2

1Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol, University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TD, United Kingdom.
2Section of Endocrinology, Yale School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT06510, USA.
Address correspondence to: F. Susan Wong, e-mail:

Keywords: type 1 diabetes, NOD mouse, autoimmunity, B cells, costimulation, antigen-presenting cells


Autoantibodies have been used as good markers for the prediction of future development of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), but are not thought to be pathogenic in this disease. The role of B cells that produce autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of human T1DM is largely unknown. In the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model of autoimmune diabetes, it has been shown that B cells may contribute multifariously to the pathogenesis of the disease. Some aspects of deficiencies of B cell tolerance may lead to the circulation of autoreactive B cells. In addition, the antigen-presenting function of autoantigen specific B cells is likely to be particularly important, and autoantibodies are also considered to play a critical role. This review discusses the possible aspects of B cells involved in the development of autoimmune diabetes.

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