Research highlight

Predicting diabetes onset

Nature Immunology

February 27, 2012

A strategy to predict Type 1 diabetes (T1D) onset in mice is reported this week in Nature Immunology. Non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice are used as model for T1D but not all go on to develop full blown diabetes. Diane Mathis and colleagues use a patient-validated magnetic-resonance imaging strategy to distinguish between mice that would or would not go on to develop clinical diabetes. The technique also enabled the researchers to estimate the time to clinical onset of disease. Importantly, they note that resistance to diabetes correlated with the receptor CRIg ? expressed by a subset of immune cells called macrophages ? and diabetes incidence could be reduced by administration of CRIg protein to mice. Since this magnetic-resonance imaging technique can be used on humans, a next step will be to apply this approach to at-risk individuals to see whether it can also be used as a T1D prediction tool.

doi: 10.1038/ni.2233

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