Induction of diabetes is influenced by the infectious virus and local expression of MHC class I and tumor necrosis factor-alpha

J Immunol. 1993 Jun 1;150(11):5185-94.


To study self reactivity, a transgenic mouse model has been established in which the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) glycoprotein (gp) is expressed in the beta-islet cells of the pancreas (rat insulin promoter (RIP)-gp). These mice (H-2b) do not spontaneously develop diabetes; however, infection with the LCMV strain WE rapidly induces hyperglycemia. In this study, comparative analysis of H-2k RIP-gp-transgenic animals demonstrated that the haplotype influences the incidence and kinetics of diabetes and alters the requirement for the CD4+ T cell subset. This study also showed that the properties of the virus expressing the self target Ag determined whether hyperglycemia occurred in RIP-gp-transgenic mice. Various LCMV strains were able to induce diabetes in RIP-gp-transgenic animals, whereas infection with a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing LCMV-gp (vacc-gp) did not induce diabetes. However, vacc-gp could induce diabetes in double (RIP-gp/TCR)-transgenic mice, where the majority of CD8+ T cells expressed a receptor specific for LCMV-gp, suggesting that a critical number of self-reactive T cells must be activated to induce disease. Notably, histologic analysis of pancreata taken various days after LCMV or vacc-gp infections indicated that induction of diabetes coincided with an increase in MHC class I expression on the islets of Langerhans. Additional studies with vacc-gp were done to determine other factors that possibly enhance autoimmune attack. Transgenic mice expressing both LCMV-gp and TNF-alpha under the control of the RIP were infected with vacc-gp, and 50% of RIP-gp/TNF-alpha-transgenic animals became hyperglycemic. These data suggest that the increased local lymphocyte traffic as a result of TNF-alpha expression attracts activated gp-specific T cells, enhancing the possibility of hyperglycemia. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the induction of diabetes in this model is influenced by the MHC haplotype, the infectious agent, TNF-alpha expression, the level of MHC class I expression, and the induction of a threshold number of self-reactive CTL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Base Sequence
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / immunology
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Haplotypes
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / analysis
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / physiology*
  • Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis / complications
  • Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Rats
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / physiology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*
  • Vaccinia virus / immunology


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Glycoproteins
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha