Your diabetes research just got a lot more exciting! Expand your research horizons with our newest antigen-specific T cell line that recognizes a proinsulin peptide.

Type 1 diabetes, characterized by the loss of beta cells in the pancreas, affects approximately 1.25 million Americans. That number is expected to rise dramatically to 5 million by 2050. 

When these beta cells die, production of insulin declines and blood glucose levels increase uncontrollably. The death of these beta cells is widely believed to be the result of an autoimmune process and researchers have discovered T cells and antibodies directed against beta cell antigens in people with type 1 diabetes.

About Proinsulin-Specific T Cells

This new line of T cells is specific for a proinsulin peptide, making it an ideal tool for understanding the role of autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes. These cells can be used to test various methods that may either limit their pathogenic potential or render them harmless. 

The cause of type 1 diabetes is thought to be autoimmunity to antigens expressed by beta cells in the pancreas. T cells specific to proinsulin — one antigen expressed by beta cells — have been found in diabetic individuals. 

Our line of proinsulin-specific T cells are CD4+ and recognize residues 73–90 of the protein (GAGSLQPLALEGSLQKRG).

The graph above shows the proliferation as measured by CellTiter-Glo. These three different cell lines from the same donor have slightly different levels of proliferation. 

Our First Diabetes Donor

The donor for our first line of proinsulin-specific T cells does not have diabetes herself but does express the HLA-DRB1*04:01 allele associated with diabetes. We expect the T cells from this donor to recognize the peptide presented by DRB1*04:01. 

While we don’t have the full HLA restriction data available yet, we do know that the three cell lines available from this donor seem to have different patterns of cytokine secretion, as shown in the graphs below.  

T cell line 222-P1-1 secretes mainly IFNγ with little IL-5 or IL-10. T cell line 222-P1-3 produces IL-5, IL-10 and IL-13 as well as IFNγ.  These two cell lines may also differ in their contribution to disease.

Conducting Diabetes Research? 

Be among the first to get your hands on these innovative proinsulin-specific T cells and test them in your lab. Get yours today.


    • There is already testing for antibodies to proinsulin and GAD65 that can be done for people with type 1 diabetes. The problem is that by the time the antibodies are found a person will already be diabetic. We hope that making these cells available, scientists will have another tool to understand how diabetes starts and how to prevent it.

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