Checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs) targeting programmed death-1(PD-1)/programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) have revolutionized cancer treatment but can trigger autoimmune complications including CPI-induced diabetes (CPI-DM), which occurs preferentially with PD-1 blockade. We found evidence of pancreatic inflammation in patients with CPI-DM with shrinkage of pancreases, increased pancreatic enzymes, and in a case from a patient who died with CPI-DM, peri-islet lymphocytic infiltration. In the NOD mouse model, anti-PD-L1 but not anti-CTLA-4 induces diabetes rapidly. RNA sequencing revealed that cytolytic IFNγ+ CD8+ T cells infiltrated islets with anti-PD-L1. Changes in β cells were predominantly driven by IFNγ and TNFα and included induction of a potentially novel β cell population with transcriptional changes suggesting dedifferentiation. IFNγ increased checkpoint ligand expression and activated apoptosis pathways in human β cells in vitro. Treatment with anti-IFNγ and anti-TNFα prevented CPI-DM in anti-PD-L1 treated NOD mice. CPIs targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway result in transcriptional changes in β cells and immune infiltrates that may lead to the development of diabetes. Inhibition of inflammatory cytokines can prevent CPI-DM, suggesting a strategy for clinical application to prevent this complication.


Ana Luisa Perdigoto, Songyan Deng, Katherine C. Du, Manik Kuchroo, Daniel B. Burkhardt, Alexander Tong, Gary Israel, Marie E. Robert, Stuart P. Weisberg, Nancy Kirkiles-Smith, Angeliki M. Stamatouli, Harriet M. Kluger, Zoe Quandt, Arabella Young, Mei-Ling Yang, Mark J. Mamula, Jordan S. Pober, Mark S. Anderson, Smita Krishnaswamy, Kevan C. Herold


Download this citation for these citation managers:

Or, download this citation in these formats:

If you experience problems using these citation formats, send us feedback.