Infection of autoimmune New Zealand mice with the D variant of encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus results in beta-cell damage and clinical diabetes. The induction of diabetes in parental NZB and NZW strains was independent of sex. However, the susceptibility to virus-induced diabetes in their F1 offspring was sex dependent. This susceptibility was significantly higher in male (NZB x NZW) F1 mice as compared with female F1 mice. Castration of male F1 mice significantly reduced the susceptibility to diabetes. These results suggest that parental NZB and NZW strains have recessive genes at different loci which do not allow sex hormones to influence the susceptibility to diabetes. It is concluded that both the genetic background of the host and sex hormones influence the development of virus-induced diabetes in autoimmune New Zealand mice.

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