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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Apr 16;99(8):5539-44. Epub 2002 Apr 9.

Induction and acceleration of insulitis/diabetes in mice with a viral mimic (polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid) and an insulin self-peptide.

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  • 1Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 4200 East 9th Avenue, Denver, CO 80262, USA.


Polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (PolyIC), a "mimic" of double-stranded viral RNA, can induce diabetes when administered to rats with RT1(u), and immunization of normal H-2(d) mice (e.g., BALB/c) with insulin B:9-23 peptide (but not H-2(b)) results in the rapid induction of insulin autoantibodies. Because a mouse model of PolyIC/antigen-induced diabetes is lacking, we sought to produce insulitis and diabetes with either PolyIC and/or B:9-23 peptide immunization. Simultaneous administration of PolyIC and B:9-23 peptide to BALB/c mice (but with neither alone) induced insulitis. CD4 T lymphocytes predominated within islets, and the mice did not progress to hyperglycemia. Islets with transgene-induced expression of the costimulatory B7-1 molecule have enhanced diabetes susceptibility. Diabetes was frequently induced in B7-1 transgenic mice with H-2(d) in contrast to H-2(b) mice after PolyIC administration. Disease induction was accelerated by adding B:9-23 immunization to PolyIC. These studies demonstrate that "normal" mice have autoreactive T lymphocytes able to rapidly target islets and insulin given appropriate MHC alleles and that a peripherally administered insulin peptide (an altered peptide ligand of which is in clinical trials) can enhance specific anti-islet autoimmunity. These first PolyIC/insulin-induced murine models should provide an important tool to study the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes with experimental autoimmune diabetes.

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