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Eur J Immunol. 1995 Oct;25(10):2851-7.

Induction of diabetes in standard mice by immunization with the p277 peptide of a 60-kDa heat shock protein.

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Department of Cell Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


We previously reported that immunity to the p277 peptide of the human 60-kDa heat shock protein (hsp60) was a causal factor in the diabetes of non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, which are genetically prone to develop spontaneous autoimmune diabetes. The present study was done to test whether immunization with the p277 peptide could cause diabetes in standard strains of mice. We now report that a single administration of the p277 peptide conjugated to carrier molecules such as bovine serum albumin or ovalbumin can induce diabetes in C57BL/6 mice and in other strains not genetically prone to develop diabetes. The diabetes was marked by hyperglycemia, insulitis, insulin autoantibodies, glucose intolerance and low blood levels of insulin. The diabetes could be transferred to naive recipients by anti-p277 T cell lines. Similar to other experimentally induced autoimmune diseases, the autoimmune diabetes remitted spontaneously. After recovery, the mice were found to have acquired resistance to a second induction of diabetes. Susceptibility to induced diabetes in C57BL/6 mice was influenced by sex (males were much more susceptible than were females) and by class II genes in the major histocompatibility complex (B6.H-2bm12 mice with a mutation in the MHC-II molecule were relatively resistant). Other strains of mice susceptible to induced diabetes were C57BL/KSJ, C3HeB/FeJ, and NON/Lt. BALB/c and C3H/HeJ strains were relatively resistant. Immunization to p277-carrier conjugates could also induce transient hyperglycemia in young NOD mice, but upon recovery from the induced diabetes, the NOD mice were found to have acquired resistance to later development of spontaneous diabetes. Thus, T cell immunity to the p277 peptide can suffice to induce diabetes in standard mice, and a short bout of induced diabetes can affect the chronic process that would otherwise lead to spontaneous diabetes in diabetes-prone NOD mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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