Diabetes mellitus developing in BALB/c ByJ mice infected with the M variant of encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus is dependent on thymic immune mechanisms. We treated mice with the anti-Tlymphocyte monoclonal anti-L3T4 and anti-Lyt2.2 antibodies before virus inoculation and monitored the infection and occurrence of diabetes thereafter. Mice depleted of L3T4+ cells exhibited a reduced incidence and severity of diabetes compared with both untreated and anti-Lyt2.2-treated animals. All mice sustained pancreatic infections, but islet lesions with β-cell degranulation only occurred in control infected and anti-Lyt2.2-treated animals. These data support the conclusion that the induction of diabetes in EMC-infected BALB/c mice is immune mediated and controlled by the L3T4+ T-lymphocyte subpopulation.

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