Detection of activated lymphocytes in endocrine pancreas of BB/W rats by injection of 123I-interleukin-2: an early sign of type 1 diabetes

Lancet. 1987 Sep 5;2(8558):537-40. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(87)92925-4.


Recombinant interleukin-2 (IL2) was labelled with iodine-123 by a modified chloramine T method. The labelled IL2, which had a high specific activity (100-150 microCi/microgram) and retained its capacity for binding to the IL2 receptor on activated lymphocytes in vitro, was injected intravenously into BB/W diabetes-prone and normal rats. Combined immunoperoxidase staining and autoradiography of organ sections revealed that labelled IL2 bound specifically in vivo to IL2-receptor-positive cells in the spleen of both normal and BB/W rats and to activated lymphocytes infiltrating the pancreas of BB/W rats. The severity of lymphocytic infiltration correlated with the degree of radioactivity in the pancreas of BB/W rats. Time-activity curves, generated over organs of injected rats after gamma camera imaging, confirmed that radioactivity was greater in the pancreas of diabetes-prone than in normal rats. 123I is a suitable isotope for gamma camera imaging, so the intravenous injection of IL2 labelled with iodine-123 may be valuable for the in-vivo visualisation of activated lymphocytes in tissues infiltrated by lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Interleukin-2*
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocytes / analysis
  • Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Male
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Immunologic / analysis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Spleen / pathology


  • Interleukin-2
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Recombinant Proteins