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Diabetes. 2003 Aug;52(8):2025-34.

Diabetogenic potential of human pathogens uncovered in experimentally permissive beta-cells.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA.


Pancreatic beta-cell antiviral defense plays a critical role in protection from coxsackievirus B4 (CVB4)-induced diabetes. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that interferon (IFN)-induced antiviral defense determines beta-cell survival after infection by the human pathogen CVB3, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). We demonstrated that mice harboring beta-cells that do not respond to IFN because of the expression of the suppressor of cytokine signaling-1 (SOCS-1) succumb to an acute form of type 1 diabetes after infection with CVB3. Interestingly, the tropism of the virus was altered in SOCS-1 transgenic (Tg) mice, and CVB3 was detected in islet cells of SOCS-1-Tg mice before beta-cell loss and the onset of diabetes. Furthermore, insulitis was increased in SOCS-1-Tg mice after infection with murine CMV, and a minority of the mice developed overt diabetes. However, infection with LCMV failed to cause beta-cell destruction in SOCS-1 Tg mice. These findings suggest that CVB3 can cause diabetes in a host lacking adequate beta-cell antiviral defense, and that incomplete target cell antiviral defense may enhance susceptibility to diabetes triggered by CMV. In conclusion, suppressed beta-cell antiviral defense reveals the diabetogenic potential of two pathogens previously linked to the onset of type 1 diabetes in humans.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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