The earliest currently identifiable process in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes (T1D) is the development of autoimmunity to islet beta cells in the measurable form of islet autoantibodies. The autoantibodies usually 'appear' after a period of 'negativity', signifying an 'immunization' event against islet beta cell autoantigens. The aetiology and pathogenesis of the islet auto-immunization is still poorly understood, hindering attempts at early preventive therapy.
The theme of this collaborative project is the early auto-immunization against islet autoantigens, in particular to disclose events, which precede current islet autoantibody-markers.
The concept is that early events prior to auto-immunization govern the likelihood and 'signature' of immunization which in turn determines progression to disease.
The overall objective is to determine mechanisms of islet autoantigen immunization.
The expected impact is new fundamental knowledge regarding:
- how immunization against islet autoantigens can occur;
- how signs of self-immunization can be exploited for prediction and monitoring of disease;
- how the immunization or its progression to islet beta cell destruction and T1D development can be prevented.