Diabetes & CD3 Antibodies


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The CD3 antibody binds with the CD3 receptors (also known as CD3 antigens or C3 T cell surface glycoprotein) that are found on numerous human immune cells such as the T cell and some types of natural killer cell. The CD3 receptors on the surface of T cells are closely associated with another receptor known as the T-cell receptor. The T-cell receptor is responsible for recognising disease causing particles which are known as pathogenic antigens, because they are disease causing and bind to receptors. Once the T-cell receptor has recognised and bound to a pathogenic antigen, CD3 antibodies will bind with the CD3 receptor. The binding of CD3 antibody to the CD3 receptor alerts the cell that the T-cell receptor has recognised a pathogenic antigen so that the T-cell (which is one of the human immune cells) can respond. In this way, the CD3 antibody can be thought of as the key that fits into the CD3 receptor on a cell and consequently causes the immune cell to activate an immune response.

In diabetes the T-cell receptors are flawed because instead of recognising pathogenic antigens they recognise and bind to the β cells of the pancreas (which are normally the only insulin producing cells in the body).  In this way, some diabetics undergo a course of anti-CD3 antibody therapy which involves treatment with a molecule that binds to CD3 antibodies so that they are unable to bind to the CD3 receptor on the T cells. This means that, although the T-cell receptors are still able to bind to the β cells of the pancreas, the T cell response will not be activated. This therapy has been shown to maintain or improve the amount of insulin produced by diabetes in their first year of disease however this treatment is still being researched and is yet to be approved for use.


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