A panel of CD4+ T-cell clones has been isolated from the spleen and lymph nodes of diabetic NOD mice. These clones have been shown to be islet-specific both in vivo and in vitro. One of the clones, BDC-6.9, initiates extensive damage to islet tissue when placed adjacent to an NOD islet graft that has been used to reverse diabetes in (CBA × NOD)F1 recipients or when injected intraperitonealiy into such animals. In this study, we show that BDC-6.9 T cells can initiate islet destruction in the absence of detectable CD8 T cells either in the periphery or in the lesion that develops after the transfer of the cloned islet-reactive T cells.

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