T Cells Linked Type 1 Diabetes Progression

T cell subset may play a crucial role in the development of diabetes.

The recently described subset of T cells, follicular helper T cells, may play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes.

Since the emergence of autoantibodies is a common feature of type 1 diabetes development, it’s been hypothesized that follicular helper T cells have a role in disease process. In a new study published in Diabetes, this notion was supported by the findings.

The study gathered samples from the Finnish DIPP follow-up study, where children with an increased genetic risk for developing type 1 diabetes were longitudinally followed for the development of the disease.

For the current study, researchers observed the frequency of blood follicular T helper cells, which showed that they increased close to the onset of type 1 diabetes. Furthermore, this finding was only found in a subgroup of children who were positive for multiple diabetes-associated autoantibodies.

The findings suggest that in type 1 diabetes, there is a connection between the activation of helper T cells and the activation of autoantibody-producing B cells.

The authors noted that the results support the idea that follicular helper T cells have a role in the development of type 1 diabetes, and that therapies targeting these cells may have potential in the prevention of the disease.