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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Natural killer T cells (NK-T) immunoregulation by VIP: functional analysis, mechanisms of action and effects on type 1 diabetes as a model of Th1 type autoimmnune disease

Final Activity Report Summary - POZO,D. ERG-2003 (Natural killer T cells (NK-T) immunoregulation by VIP: ... type 1 diabetes as a model of Th1 type autoimmnune disease)

The Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is a neuropeptide expressed in the nervous system as well as in the immune system. Remarkably, VIP has potent immunomodulatory effects.

We worked, to some extent, on the mechanisms used by the nervous and immune system for their communication. The project aimed to study the VIP effect on type I diabetes as a model of autoimmune disease and the role of Natural killer T (NK-T) cells as a cell population targeted by VIP and involved in the disease onset of diabetes. For this purpose, we used strain mice that developed spontaneously diabetes called Non-obese diabetic (NOD).

The main project achievement was the delay in the onset of diabetes in the animals treated with VIP. This was the first work that used a VIP gene-delivery approach to modify the onset of a disease in an experimental model. Furthermore, the work disclosed that VIP not only altered the functional activities of immunocompetent effector cells involved in the inflammatory response, but was also able to regulate cell populations that exerted a broad scope of regulatory capabilities.