Auto-reactive CD8 T-cells play an important role in the destruction of pancreatic β-cells resulting in type 1 diabetes (T1D). However, the phenotype of these auto-reactive cytolytic CD8 T-cells has not yet been extensively described. We used high-dimensional mass cytometry to phenotype autoantigen- (pre-proinsulin), neoantigen- (insulin-DRIP) and virus-(cytomegalovirus) reactive CD8 T-cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of T1D patients. A panel of 33 monoclonal antibodies was designed to further characterise these cells at the single-cell level. HLA-A2 class I tetramers were used for the detection of antigen-specific CD8 T-cells. Using a novel Hierarchical Stochastic Neighbor Embedding (HSNE) tool (implemented in Cytosplore), we identified 42 clusters within the CD8 T-cell compartment of three T1D patients and revealed profound heterogeneity between individuals, as each patient displayed a distinct cluster distribution. Single-cell analysis of pre-proinsulin, insulin-DRIP and cytomegalovirus-specific CD8 T-cells showed that the detected specificities were heterogeneous between and within patients. These findings emphasize the challenge to define the obscure nature of auto-reactive CD8 T-cells.
- CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology
- Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1/immunology
- HLA-A2 Antigen/immunology
- Insulin-Secreting Cells/immunology
- Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology
- Single-Cell Analysis/methods