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Eur J Immunol. 1994 Feb;24(2):380-4.

Genetic analysis of immune dysfunction in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice: mapping of a susceptibility locus close to the Bcl-2 gene correlates with increased resistance of NOD T cells to apoptosis induction.

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INSERM U25, Hôpital Necker, Paris, France.


The non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse strain provides a remarkable model for investigating the mechanisms of autoimmunity. Independent genetic analyses of this model have previously shown that chromosome 1-linked loci were involved in the control of periinsulitis and sialitis on the one hand and of insulitis and diabetes on the other hand. In the present work, analysis of a [NOD x (NOD x C57BL/6)F1] backcross progeny allowed us to clearly dissociate two genetic regions: one was associated with periinsulitis and mapped to the middle region of chromosome 1, in the vicinity of the Bcl-2 gene; the other was associated with insulitis and mapped to the proximal part of the chromosome. Three intermediate markers D1Mit18, D1Mit5 and D1Mit19 covering at least 25 centiMorgans between these two regions, were associated with neither periinsulitis nor insulitis. The role of the Bcl-2-linked region in the immune anomalies of NOD mice was further investigated in a (NOD x C57BL/6)F2 cross where the Bcl-2nod haplotype was linked to elevated serum levels of IgG (p < 0.0005). The middle region of chromosome 1 is, therefore, involved in the control of three phenotypes, including periinsulitis, sialitis and hyperIgG, pointing to Bcl-2 as a good candidate for a cause of the NOD mouse disease. Consistent with the anti-apoptotic function of the Bcl-2 gene product, activated T lymphocytes from NOD mice showed a markedly increased resistance to induction of apoptosis following deprivation of interleukin-2 when compared to those from non-autoimmune strains. After the recent observation of the Fas gene alterations in the lpr and lprcg mutations, these findings indicate that deregulation of lymphoid cell apoptosis may be a general pathogenetic mechanism in autoimmune diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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