Total lymphoid irradiation (TLI) at doses of 2200 rads or greater prevented diabetes in susceptible BB/W rats. Two of 29 (7%) treated rats became diabetic compared with 23 of 39 (59%) controls (P < 0.001). TLI did not, however, prevent insulitis or thyroiditis in nondiabetic rats, nor did it restore the depressed concanavalin-A responsiveness of BB rat lymphocytes. T-lymphocyte subset proportions were the same in both groups. TLI was associated with significant radiation-related mortality, and nondiabetic TLI-treated rats weighed significantly less than controls. We conclude that TLI is effective in the prevention of BB rat diabetes. However, TLI fails to correct the subclinical immunologie abnormalities of the model and is associated with significant morbidity.

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