Major histocompatibility complex class I molecules are required for the development of insulitis in non-obese diabetic mice

Eur J Immunol. 1993 Dec;23(12):3358-60. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830231244.


An early step in the development of autoimmune diabetes is lymphocyte infiltration into the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas, or insulitis. The infiltrate contains both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and both are required for progression to diabetes in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. It has been thought that the CD4+ lymphocytes are the initiators of the disease, the islet invaders, while CD8+ cells are the effectors, the islet destroyers. We question this interpretation because NOD mice lacking MHC class I molecules, hence CD8+ T cells, do not display even insulitis when expected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4 Antigens / analysis
  • CD8 Antigens / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / physiology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology*
  • Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD


  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I