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Keywords:

  • animal models (mice/rats);
  • autoimmunity;
  • insulitis;
  • lymph nodes;
  • non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse;
  • regulatory T cells;
  • type 1 diabetes

Summary

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) results from T helper type 1 (Th1)-mediated autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing β cells. Novel experimental therapies for T1D target immunomodulation, β cell survival and inflammation. We examined combination therapy with the dipeptidyl peptidase-IV inhibitor MK-626 and the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat in the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model of T1D. We hypothesized that combination therapy would ameliorate T1D by providing protection from β cell inflammatory destruction while simultaneously shifting the immune response towards immune-tolerizing regulatory T cells (Tregs). Although neither mono- nor combination therapies with MK-626 and vorinostat caused disease remission in diabetic NOD mice, the combination of MK-626 and vorinostat increased β cell area and reduced the mean insulitis score compared to diabetic control mice. In prediabetic NOD mice, MK-626 monotherapy resulted in improved glucose tolerance, a reduction in mean insulitis score and an increase in pancreatic lymph node Treg percentage, and combination therapy with MK-626 and vorinostat increased pancreatic lymph node Treg percentage. We conclude that neither single nor combination therapies using MK-626 and vorinostat induce diabetes remission in NOD mice, but combination therapy appears to have beneficial effects on β cell area, insulitis and Treg populations. Combinations of vorinostat and MK-626 may serve as beneficial adjunctive therapy in clinical trials for T1D prevention or remission.