Transgenic mice with I-A on islet cells are normoglycemic but immunologically intolerant

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Science  09 Jun 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4909, pp. 1179-1183
DOI: 10.1126/science.2499048


Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) is caused by a specific loss of the insulin-producing beta cells from pancreatic Langerhans islets. It has been proposed that aberrant expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules on these cells could be a triggering factor for their autoimmune destruction. This proposal was tested in transgenic mice that express allogeneic or syngeneic class II molecules on the surface of islet cells at a level comparable with that normally found on resting B lymphocytes. These animals do not develop diabetes, nor is lymphocyte infiltration of the islets observed. This immunological inactivity does not result from tolerance to the "foreign" class II molecules.