In non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice that spontaneously develop autoimmune diabetes, plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) have a diabetes-promoting role through IFN-α production on one hand, while a diabetes-inhibiting role through indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) production on the other. Little is known about the kinetics and phenotype of pDCs in the NOD pancreas during the development of autoimmune diabetes. While para/peri-insular accumulation of conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) could be observed from 4 weeks of age onwards in NOD mice, pDCs only started to accumulate around the islets of Langerhans from 10 weeks onwards, which is concomitant with the influx of lymphocytes. NOD pancreatic pDCs showed a tolerogenic phenotype as assessed by their high expression of IDO and non-detectable levels of IFN-α and MxA. Furthermore, expression of the pDC-attracting chemokines CXCL10 and CXCL12 was significantly increased in the NOD pancreas at 10 weeks and the circulating pDC numbers were increased at 4 and 10 weeks. Our data suggest that a simultaneous accumulation of IDO+ pDCs and lymphocytes in the pancreas in 10 weeks old NOD mice, which may reflect both an immunogenic influx of T cells as well as a tolerogenic attempt to control these immunogenic T cells.,
Department of Immunology

Welzen-Coppens, J., van Helden-Meeuwsen, C., Leenen, P., Drexhage, H., & Versnel, M. (2013). The Kinetics of Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Accumulation in the Pancreas of the NOD Mouse during the Early Phases of Insulitis. PLoS ONE, 8(1). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055071