Experiments were performed on 12-wk-old nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice to investigate the immunologic background of the condition, using ICR mice as controls. The results indicate the following: (1) absolute decreases in number of T lymphocytes, (2) depression of natural killer activity, (3) normal responsiveness in delayed type hypersensitivity and functional depression of killer T cells against allogeneic tumors, (4) diminished resistance to herpes virus infection, and (5) enhanced production of polyclonal antibodies to T cell-dependent antigens. These features are similar to those noted in other autoimmune diseases of man and in their experimental models in laboratory animals. Elucidation of the pathogenetic mechanism of autoimmune diabetes mellitus in NOD mice, therefore, may contribute to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of a wide variety of autoimmune diseases.

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