Spontaneous diabetes in rats: destruction of islets is prevented by immunological tolerance

Science  18 Sep 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4514, pp. 1390-1392
DOI: 10.1126/science.6791286


Spontaneous diabetes occurring in "BB" rats (derived from a colony of outbred Wistar rats) is the result of destruction of pancreatic islets by infiltrating mononuclear cells (insulitis) and may be a disease very similar to human juvenile onset diabetes. Both diseases probably have an autoimmune etiology. Evidence is presented that islets transplanted to diabetic BB rats are destroyed by the original disease process. Inoculation of bone marrow from normal (nondiabetes-susceptible) rat donors into neonatal BB recipients usually prevented the development of hyperglycemia.