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Autoimmune diabetes mellitus

Alex Rabinovitch
From: Science & Medicine: Volume 7 Number 3: Page 18 (June 2000)

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Abstract: Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus, like other organ-specific autoimmune diseases, results from a disorder of immunoregulation. T cells specific for pancreatic islet beta cell constituents (auto-antigens) exist normally but are restrained by regulatory mechanisms. When regulation fails, beta cell autoreactive T cells become activated and expand clonally. The resulting cascade of immune and inflammatory processes in the islet is called insulitis and culminates in beta cell destruction. An altered balance between subsets of T helper cells appears to be responsible and may be reversible.

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