Open Access

Autoimmune diseases get the NOD

  • Jonathan B Weitzman
Genome Biology20012:spotlight-20010219-03

DOI: 10.1186/gb-spotlight-20010219-03

Published: 19 February 2001

Type 1 diabetes (also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, IDDM) is an autoimmune disease in which the patient's immune system destroys insulin-producing β cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. The NOD (non-obese diabetic) mouse has served as a powerful animal model for deciphering the complex genetic contributions to IDDM disease. In the February Nature Genetics, Morahan et al. describe the identification of IDDM18, a new locus associated with human type 1 diabetes, following a hint from studies of NOD mice (Nat Genet 2001, 27:218-221). A search for human homologs of NOD diabetes susceptibility loci led Morahan and colleagues to the human IL12B gene, which encodes a subunit of the interleukin 12 (IL-12) cytokine. They type 249 sibpairs for markers at the IL12B locus on chromosome 5q33-34. HLA-identical pairs showed strong linkage to this region. They identified a polymorphism in the 3' UTR of IL12Bthat appears to confer susceptibility by altering the levels of IL-12 expression. It is possible that the effect IL-12 has on regulating T-cell responses plays a role in other autoimmune diseases.

References

  1. Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus as an autoimmune disease.Google Scholar
  2. Genetics of autoimmune diabetes in animal models.Google Scholar
  3. Nature Genetics, [http://genetics.nature.com]

Copyright

© BioMed Central Ltd 2001

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