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Eur J Immunol. 1990 Jun;20(6):1297-303.

Paradoxical lessening of autoimmune processes in non-obese diabetic mice after infection with the diabetogenic variant of encephalomyocarditis virus.

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Laboratory of Diabetology, University of Marseille, Marseille-Luminy, France.


In order to gain insight into the interaction between autoimmunity and viral infection in the onset of insulin-dependent diabetes, non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice which spontaneously develop autoimmune diabetes were inoculated with the diabetogenic variant of the encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV-D) before the onset of the disease. The pre-diabetic period was divided into two phases: the early phase (days 88 to 116) during which development of spontaneous diabetes is rare and the late phase (day 123 to 200) during which the incidence of spontaneous diabetes is high. As controls ICR mice of common ancestry were also inoculated. During the early phase diabetes was observed in 4/10 inoculated, 0/13 control NOD and 7/13 inoculated ICR males vs. 6/12 inoculated, 1/11 control NOD and 0/15 inoculated ICR females. However, in NOD female, virus-induced diabetes prevalence was variable from one experiment to another. In parallel the flow cytometric analysis showed a high percentage of L3T4+ T lymphocytes in the pancreas of inoculated female NOD mice 10 days after the infection. At this time a large proportion of both L3T4+ and Ly-2+ cells expressed the interleukin 2 receptor. During the late phase no new case of diabetes occurred in inoculated NOD mice but one case was observed in control NOD males and five in control NOD females. This prevention of autoimmune diabetes was constantly found in other experiments. Insulitis was milder in inoculated NOD mice of both sexes than in control NOD. Adoptive transfer of diabetes into irradiated 8-week-old males by splenocytes from 28-week-old females was successful in five out seven attempts with control splenocytes and in zero out of six attempts with splenocytes from inoculated mice. This immunosuppression was specific as the ability of lymphocytes to respond to soluble or allogeneic antigens was preserved. In the early phase EMCV-D precipitated the onset of diabetes in females NOD mice by amplifying L3T4+ T lymphocyte-mediated immune mechanisms. During the late phase viral infection had lessened immune processes in animals which had resisted or recovered from virus-induced diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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