Immunotherapies are needed in the clinic that effectively suppress β cell autoimmunity and reestablish long-term self-tolerance in type 1 diabetes. We previously demonstrated that nondepleting anti-CD4 (αCD4) and αCD8α antibodies establish rapid and indefinite remission in recent-onset diabetic NOD mice. Diabetes reversal by coreceptor therapy (CoRT) is induced by suppression of pathogenic effector T cells (Teffs) and the selective egress of T cells from the pancreatic lymph nodes and islets that remain free of infiltration in the long term. Here, we defined CoRT-induced events regulating early Teff function and pancreatic residency, and long-term tolerance. TCR-driven gene expression controlling autoreactive Teff expansion and proinflammatory activity was suppressed by CoRT, and islet T cell egress was dependent on sphingosine-1 phosphate. In both murine and human T cells, CoRT upregulated the Foxo1 transcriptional axis, which in turn was required for suppression and efficient pancreatic egress of Teffs. Interestingly, long-term tolerance induced in late-preclinical NOD mice was marked by reseeding of the pancreas by a reduced CD8+ Teff pool exhibiting an exhausted phenotype. Notably, PD-1 blockade, which rescues exhausted Teffs, resulted in diabetes onset in protected animals. These findings demonstrate that CoRT has distinct intrinsic effects on Teffs that impact events early in induction and later in maintenance of self-tolerance.
Matthew Clark, Charles J. Kroger, Qi Ke, Rui Zhang, Karen Statum, J. Justin Milner, Aaron Martin, Bo Wang, Roland Tisch