T-lymphocyte lines specific for islet cell antigens were isolated from the spleen and pancreas of newly diabetic BB rats or from the related strain BBUF. These cell lines were grown in continuous culture with inter-leukin-2 (IL-2) containing medium for >60 days. Such T-lymphocytes responded by proliferation and IL-2 secretion in the combined presence of islet cell antigens and major histocompatibility (MHC)-matched antigen-presenting cells. By fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS) analysis the cells were W3/13+, W3/25+, and 0X8. Thus, both functionally and by cell-surface-marker analysis they appear to be of the T-helper phenotype. The long-term growth and study of anti-islet T-lymphocyte lines will permit a detailed analysis of the role of T-lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of IDDM.

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