The induction of insulin-dependent diabetes in outbred male and female mice was examined using a combination of the usually nondiabetogenic B-variant of encephalomyocarditis (EMC-B) virus and single low doses of streptozocin (STZ). Neither EMC-B virus nor low doses of STZ were overtly diabetogenic when administered alone; however, when these two insults occurred 1 day apart, diabetes resulted in male but not in female mice. The induction of diabetes was dependent on the time interval between these two insults, since EMC-B virus and STZ given 4 days apart did not induce diabetes. Unexpectedly, when the order of these two insults was reversed, diabetes occurred. The absence of diabetes when EMC-B virus was given before STZ suggested the possibility that virus-induced interferon blocked the cytotoxic effects of STZ. This suggestion was supported by the observation that an antiserum against beta interferon abrogated the virus-mediated protection against STZ-mediated cytotoxicity. Also, Poly I:C administered before a single diabetogenic dose of STZ delayed the onset of severe hyperglycemia.

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