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International Textbook of Diabetes Mellitus, 4th Ed., Excerpt #160: Immunopathogenesis of Type 1 Diabetes in Western Society Part 3

Insulin itself is a prototypical TRA, its synthesis being virtually restricted to pancreatic beta cells. Thymic insulin production is critical for establishing self-tolerance to beta cells; simply abolishing insulin expression in the thymus leads to the rapid onset of autoimmune diabetes even in mice lacking a diabetogenic genetic background [26]. In humans, thymic insulin expression is modulated by allelic variation and epigenetic effects at the insulin gene locus; this effect is largely mediated by a polymorphic variable nucleotide tandem repeat (VNTR) sequence.

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