Induction of autoimmune diabetes by oral administration of autoantigen.
An antigen administered orally can induce immunological tolerance to a subsequent challenge with the same antigen. Evidence has been provided for the efficacy of this approach in the treatment of human autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. However, oral administration of autoantigen in mice was found to induce a cytotoxic T lymphocyte response that could lead to the onset of autoimmune diabetes. Thus, feeding autoantigen can cause autoimmunity, which suggests that caution should be used when applying this approach to the treatment of human autoimmune diseases.