Prevention of diabetes in NOD mice by a mutated I-Ab transgene

Diabetes. 1998 Oct;47(10):1570-7. doi: 10.2337/diabetes.47.10.1570.


Susceptibility to the human autoimmune disease IDDM is strongly associated with those haplotypes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) carrying DQB1 alleles that do not encode aspartic acid at codon 57. Similarly, in a spontaneous animal model of this disease, the NOD mouse, the genes of the MHC play an important role in the development of diabetes. The DQB1 homolog in NOD mice, I-Ab(g7), encodes a histidine at codon 56 and a serine at codon 57, while all other known I-Ab alleles encode proline and aspartic acid, respectively, at these positions. We therefore mutated the NOD I-Ab allele to encode proline at position 56 and aspartic acid at position 57 and introduced this allele onto the NOD genetic background to study the effect of these substitutions on susceptibility to diabetes. No transgenic mice developed diabetes by 8 months of age, and transgenic mice had markedly reduced lymphocytic infiltration in the pancreas compared with nontransgenic littermates. Furthermore, splenocytes from transgenic mice failed to proliferate or secrete gamma-interferon in response to a panel of beta-cell autoantigens, although the mice did produce beta-cell specific antibodies. Interestingly, the proportion of IgG1 and IgE relative to IgG2a comprising these autoantibodies was much greater in transgenic mice compared with nontransgenic control mice. Finally, T-cells from transgenic mice inhibited the adoptive transfer of diabetes to irradiated recipients. This inhibition was partially reversed by treatment of the recipients with a combination of anti-interleukin (IL)-4 and anti-IL-10 monoclonal antibodies. Thus, a transgenic class II MHC allele encoding aspartic acid at B57 prevents diabetes, in part, by promoting the production of IL-4 and IL-10, which interfere with the effector phase of the diabetic process.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantigens / immunology
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / genetics*
  • Islets of Langerhans / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Autoantigens
  • Cytokines
  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DQB1 antigen
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II