Combined Therapy With GABA and Proinsulin/Alum Acts Synergistically to Restore Long-term Normoglycemia by Modulating T-Cell Autoimmunity and Promoting β-Cell Replication in Newly Diabetic NOD Mice
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.2337/db13-1385
Antigen-based therapies (ABTs) fail to restore normoglycemia in newly diabetic NOD mice, perhaps because too few β-cells remain by the time that ABT-induced regulatory responses arise and spread. We hypothesized that combining a fast-acting anti-inflammatory agent with an ABT could limit pathogenic responses while ABT-induced regulatory responses arose and spread. γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration can inhibit inflammation, enhance regulatory T-cell (Treg) responses, and promote β-cell replication in mice. We examined the effect of combining a prototypic ABT, proinsulin/alum, with GABA treatment in newly diabetic NOD mice. Proinsulin/alum monotherapy failed to correct hyperglycemia, while GABA monotherapy restored normoglycemia for a short period. Combined treatment restored normoglycemia in the long term with apparent permanent remission in some mice. Proinsulin/alum monotherapy induced interleukin (IL)-4- and IL-10-secreting T-cell responses that spread to other β-cell autoantigens. GABA monotherapy induced moderate IL-10 (but not IL-4) responses to β-cell autoantigens. Combined treatment synergistically reduced spontaneous type 1 T-helper cell responses to autoantigens, ABT-induced IL-4 and humoral responses, and insulitis, but enhanced IL-10 and Treg responses and promoted β-cell replication in the islets. Thus, combining ABT with GABA can inhibit pathogenic T-cell responses, induce Treg responses, promote β-cell replication, and effectively restore normoglycemia in newly diabetic NOD mice. Since these treatments appear safe for humans, they hold promise for type 1 diabetes intervention.