The autoimmune attack on pancreatic β-cells is orchestrated by a variety of cells that produce cytokines and other toxic mediators. CD8+ T-cells work together with other lymphocytes and antigen-presenting cells to mediate this damage and have been shown in animal models to be important both in the early stages of diabetes development and in the final effector stages. Recently, there has also been much interest in studying CD8+ T-cells that may play a role in human Type 1 diabetes and identifying their antigenic targets. The present paper will focus on the activation of CD8+ T-cells and their interaction with other cells of the immune system and discuss the target antigens and mechanisms of damage that the CD8+ T-cells use in the attack on the islet β-cell.

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