Limitations of IL-2 and Rapamycin in Immunotherapy of Type 1 Diabetes
Administration of low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) alone or combined with rapamycin (RAPA) prevents hyperglycemia in NOD mice. Also, low-dose IL-2 cures recent-onset type 1 diabetes (T1D) in NOD mice, partially by boosting pancreatic regulatory T cells (Treg cells). These approaches are currently being evaluated in humans. Our objective was to study the effect of higher IL-2 doses (250,000–500,000 IU daily) as well as low-dose IL-2 (25,000 IU daily) and RAPA (1 mg/kg daily) (RAPA/IL-2) combination. We show that, despite further boosting of Treg cells, high doses of IL-2 rapidly precipitated T1D in prediabetic female and male mice and increased myeloid cells in the pancreas. Also, we observed that RAPA counteracted IL-2 effects on Treg cells, failed to control IL-2–boosted NK cells, and broke IL-2–induced tolerance in a reversible way. Notably, the RAPA/IL-2 combination failure to cure T1D was associated with an unexpected deleterious effect on glucose homeostasis at multiple levels, including β-cell division, glucose tolerance, and liver glucose metabolism. Our data help to understand the therapeutic limitations of IL-2 alone or RAPA/IL-2 combination and could lead to the design of improved therapies for T1D.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db13-0214/-/DC1.
- Received February 8, 2013.
- Accepted May 8, 2013.
- © 2013 by the American Diabetes Association.
Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.