ENT1DEP @ European Islet Study Group 2024 Conference

We are excited to share that our partners from the Karolinska Institutet and University of Helsinki, participated in the prestigious European Islet Study Group 2024 (EISG2024) conference. Held from June 18 to 20, 2024, at the Hanasaari Cultural Center in Helsinki, Finland, this event was organised by the renowned Otonkoski Lab and brought together leading researchers in the field of European islet biology.

Karolinska Institutet Contributions: Malin Flodström Tullberg delivered an insightful presentation on “A Look Beyond the Usual Suspects: Type III Interferons in the Pathogenesis of Type 1 Diabetes.” Her research shed light on new aspects of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) pathogenesis, expanding our understanding of the disease.

University of Helsinki Contributions: Representing the University of Helsinki, Timo Otonkoski, Vikash Chandra and Sophia Forsskahl attended the conference. Sophia Forsskahl presented a poster titled “The Type 1 Diabetes Gene IFIH1 Regulates Anti-Viral Responses Differentially in Pancreatic Alpha and Beta Cells.”

Key Insights from the Poster Presentation:

  • The study provided compelling evidence that direct enteroviral infection of pancreatic islet cells may be a crucial trigger for T1D pathogenesis, with insulin-producing beta cells being particularly vulnerable.
  • The IFIH1 gene, which encodes for melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5 (MDA5), plays a critical role in detecting cytosolic dsRNA and initiating antiviral defenses. Variants of IFIH1 that reduce its function seem to offer protection against T1D, whereas variants that enhance its function can lead to type I interferonopathy.
  • Interestingly, MDA5 is predominantly found in the alpha cells of human islets. The study aimed to understand how MDA5 differentially influences the immune response in alpha versus beta cells when reacting to dsRNA.
  • Findings revealed that MDA5 deficiency does not affect the production of glucose-responsive stem-cell-derived islets (SC-islets). However, treatment of these SC-islets with PolyI notably induced various immunomodulators mediated by STAT1 and dependent on MDA5, including HLA ABC, CXCL10, IFNβ, and CCL5.

Explore the full details of our poster presentation below.

Stay tuned for more updates on our ongoing research and future presentations!