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The spontaneously diabetic BB rat: sites of the defects leading to autoimmunity and diabetes mellitus. A review.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville 22908.


In summary, our bone marrow chimeras studies suggest that there are two defects in the BB rat associated with diabetes and/or lymphopenia, one residing at the level of the bone marrow lymphoid stem cell and the other within the T-cell differentiative environment, apparently postthymic. Our neonatal thymus transplantation studies and the adult thymus transplantation studies of others suggest a third defect in the BB rat, within the thymus itself, but this defect appears not to be responsible for the development of either the diabetes or the T lymphocytopenia. Rather, the thymic defect appears to control, at least in part, the lymphocyte hyporesponsiveness characteristic of the diabetes-prone BB rat. The role of the RT6 T-cell differentiation antigen in the etiopathogenesis of diabetes in this animal model remains unclear.

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