Transgenic mouse technology has gained recognition as an important tool for examining many fundamental biological questions in vivo. Recently, transgenic mouse techniques have been applied to the study of type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes. These studies have been particularly informative in elucidating 1) mechanisms whereby immune tolerance is maintained to antigens on rare specialized cells such as the pancreatic β-cell, 2) disease susceptibility and resistance genes, and 3) potentially important immune effector mechanisms. In this article, we discuss these studies, their impact on understanding of the pathogenesis of type I diabetes, and the potential of the transgenic mouse approach for future research.

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