Heme Oxygenase-1 Induction Prevents Autoimmune Diabetes in Association With Pancreatic Recruitment of M2-Like Macrophages, Mesenchymal Cells, and Fibrocytes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Immunoregulatory and regenerative processes are activated in the pancreas during the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D) but are insufficient to prevent the disease. We hypothesized that the induction of cytoprotective heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) by cobalt protophoryrin (CoPP) would prevent T1D by promoting anti-inflammatory and pro-repair processes. Diabetes-prone BioBreeding rats received ip CoPP or saline twice per week for 3 weeks, starting at 30 days and were monitored for T1D. Immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, quantitative RT-PCR, and microarrays were used to evaluate postinjection pancreatic changes at 51 days, when islet inflammation is first visible. T1D was prevented in CoPP-treated rats (29% vs 73%). Pancreatic Hmox1 was up-regulated along with islet-associated CD68(+)HO-1(+) cells, which were also observed in a striking peri-lobular interstitial infiltrate. Most interstitial cells expressed the mesenchymal marker vimentin and the hematopoietic marker CD34. Spindle-shaped, CD34(+)vimentin(+) cells coexpressed collagen V, characteristic of fibrocytes. M2 macrophage factors Krppel-like factor 4, CD163, and CD206 were expressed by interstitial cells, consistent with pancreatic upregulation of several M2-associated genes. CoPP upregulated islet-regenerating REG genes and increased neogenic REG3(+) and insulin(+) clusters. Thus, short-term induction of HO-1 promoted a protective M2-like milieu in the pancreas and recruited mesenchymal cells, M2 macrophages, and fibrocytes that imparted immunoregulatory and pro-repair effects, preventing T1D.

published proceedings

  • Endocrinology

author list (cited authors)

  • Husseini, M., Wang, G., Patrick, C., Crookshank, J. A., MacFarlane, A. J., Noel, J. A., Strom, A., & Scott, F. W.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Husseini, Mahmoud||Wang, Gen-Sheng||Patrick, Christopher||Crookshank, Jennifer A||MacFarlane, Amanda J||Noel, J Ariana||Strom, Alexander||Scott, Fraser W

publication date

  • November 2015