To determine the influence of infectious agents on the initiation of diabetes in the spontaneously diabetic Bio-Breeding/Worcester (BB/W) rat, susceptible rats were raised in a germ-free environment. Between 2 and 3 mo of age, 3 of 12 pups became diabetic. Histologic examination of the pancreas revealed insulitis or end-stage islets. Culture and smears from various tissues were negative for bacteria or parasites. Serum vital antibody titers for all known rat viruses were undetectable. These data suggest that the diabetic syndrome of the BB/W rat is not dependent on recognized infectious agents.

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