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Overview

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects nearly 1.6 million people in the United States. In this disease, self-reactive T cells kill beta cells in the pancreas, destroying the body’s ability to produce insulin. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter cells to produce energy. When people with type 1 diabetes experience a glucose build up in the blood, they can suffer from dehydration, weight loss, nerve and blood vessel damage, organ damage and life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis.

Our Approach

LJI Professor, Matthias von Herrath, M.D., is exploring the hypothesis that there’s something in the pancreas driving its own destruction in type 1 diabetes. Scientists have found that beta cells draw harmful T cells to the pancreas prior to the onset of clinical signs of diabetes. His lab is testing the theory that there’s something wrong with the beta cells themselves.

One mission of his lab is to unravel the roles of different immune cells, cytokines and other signaling molecules as type 1 diabetes progresses. The team analyzes human pancreas tissues obtained from the Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD), and also human isolated islets. The lab also studies how predisposing genes and environmental factors, such as viral infections, may interact and trigger the disease. Several viruses, mainly from the Enterovirus genus have been considered as potential causal agents for type 1 diabetes.

By approaching type 1 diabetes from several angles, von Herrath and his colleagues hope to unlock the root of many autoimmune diseases.

Research Projects

von Herrath
Neuro-immune crosstalk in the pancreas during onset of type 1 diabetes

Team: Gustaf Christoffersson The histopathologic features of human type 1 diabetes are remarkably heterogeneous throughout the pancreas. One lobule of

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von Herrath
Modeling and detection of viral infections in human pancreas slices

Team: Mehdi Benkahla It is thought that an interaction between predisposing genes and environmental factors, such as viral infections, may

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von Herrath
Characterization of HLA class I expression in autoantibody positive and type 1 diabetic donors

Team: Mehdi Benkahla and Somayeh Sabouri Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease characterized by increased blood glucose levels

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von Herrath
Detailed in-situ characterization of cytokines, immune and endocrine cell in the human pancreas

Team: Sakthi Rajendran, Estefania Quesada-Masachs, Christine Bender Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease caused by the destruction of

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von Herrath
Characterization of in-situ IL17 expression in human pancreas

Team: Sakthi Rajendran, Estefania Quesada-Masachs and Mehdi Benkahla IL-17 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine important in shaping host immune responses against

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von Herrath
Expression of HLA class II in human pancreatic tissue sections

Team: Estefania Quesada-Masachs, Sakthi Rajendran Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which insulin-producing β cells are attacked

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More research projects

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Labs

Jul 8, 2020
von Herrath Lab

Matthias von Herrath, M.D., is committed to clinical translation of immune-based interventions in autoimmune and metabolic diseases, the latter in particular being an exciting emerging field.

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Matthias Von Herrath, M.D.
Professor
Center for Autoimmunity and Inflammation