Loss of RT6 message and most circulating T cells after thymectomy of diabetes prone BB rats

Autoimmunity. 1994;18(1):15-22. doi: 10.3109/08916939409014675.


T cells expressing the RT6 surface alloantigen perform important immunoregulatory functions in the rat. Diabetes prone (DP) BB rats are deficient in circulating RT6+ T cells and develop spontaneous autoimmune diabetes mellitus. Transfusions leading to engraftment of RT6+ T cells prevent the disease. Coisogenic diabetes resistant (DR) BB rats do circulate RT6+ T cells and are free of disease. We investigated the basis for the deficiency of RT6+ T cells in the DP-BB rat and made the following observations. 1. Thymectomy causes the rapid loss of most peripheral T cells in the DP-BB rat. 2. Concomitant with the loss of T cells is the total loss of mRNA encoding RT6. 3. In contrast to the effects observed in peripheral lymphoid tissues, thymectomy does not lead to a detectable loss in RT6+ protein found in the small intestine. We conclude that the deficiency of RT6+ peripheral T cells in the DP-BB rat is due either to their short life span or to their reduced proliferative capacity following release from the thymus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • ADP Ribose Transferases*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Isoantigens
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / deficiency*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred BB
  • Spleen / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Thymectomy


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Isoantigens
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • ADP Ribose Transferases
  • Art2b protein, rat