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J Autoimmun. 2001 Sep;17(2):119-25.

Complete suppression of insulitis and diabetes in NOD mice lacking interferon regulatory factor-1.

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Division of Molecular Metabolism and Diabetes, Department of Internal Medicine, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


Interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1), a transcriptional factor, regulates type I interferon and interferon-induced genes. It was reported that IRF-1 regulates important molecules required for inflammation and immune reactions. To investigate the role of IRF-1 in the development of autoimmune diabetes, we established IRF-1 deficient (IRF-1(-/-)) non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. IRF-1-deficient C57BL/6J mice were out-crossed to NOD mice, and F1 were backcrossed to NOD mice. At the N8 generation, the heterozygote for IRF-1 mutation was intercrossed and N8F1 was obtained. Out of three NOD genotypes, IRF-1(+/+) and IRF-1(+/-) developed spontaneous diabetes with an incidence of 47% (9/19) and 50% (10/20) by 30 weeks of age, respectively; whereas IRF-1(-/-) did not develop diabetes (0/18, P< 0.01 vs. (+/+) and (+/-)). Histologically, IRF-1(+/+) and IRF-1(+/-) had various degrees of insulitis, but IRF-1(-/-) had no insulitis. In comparison with IRF-1(+/+), the percentage of CD4(+) and Mac-1(+) splenic cells significantly increased, whereas CD3(+), CD8(+) and B220(+) cells decreased in IRF-1(-/-). Furthermore, spleen cell proliferation in response to Con A or murine GAD65 peptide, a major autoantigen of the pancreatic beta-cell, significantly increased, and the IFN-gamma/IL-10 ratio in the culture supernatant significantly decreased in IRF-1(-/-), suggesting Th2 deviation in cytokine balance. These results indicate that IRF-1 plays a key role in developing insulitis and diabetes in NOD mice.

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