Recent investigations suggest a role for antioxidants in preventing IDDM. MDL 29,311 (4,4’-[methylenebis(thio)]bis[2,6-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl)]-phenol) is an analogue of the antioxidant probucol. Administered as a 1% dietary admixture to female nonobese diabetic mice from 4 to 24 wk of age, MDL reduced the prevalence of diabetes from 49 to 4% at 24 wk of age (n = 50–61/group). Discontinuation of treatment at 24 wk of age did not result in a rapid onset of diabetes. Probucol (1%) did not prevent diabetes. Initiating MDL treatment at 4 or 8 wk of age was more effective (19 and 17%, respectively, compared with 60% in control mice) than initiating treatment at 12 wk of age (30% diabetic; n = 28–35/group). A lower dose of MDL (0.1%), started at 4 wk of age, decreased the prevalence of diabetes to 36%. Histopathology indicated that MDL did not prevent insulitis. MDL (0.1%) also was evaluated in combination with immunosuppressants. Compared with control mice (65% diabetic), the combination of MDL and deflazacort was more effective (21% diabetic) than either agent alone (39% diabetic for MDL and 59% diabetic for deflazacort), whereas the effectiveness of MDL, cyclosporin, and MDL plus cyclosporin was similar (39, 38, and 34% diabetic, respectively). In another model of IDDM, the multiple-low-dose streptozocin-injected mouse, MDL (1%) also reduced the prevalence of diabetes when administered beginning 8 wk before streptozocin (55% diabetic vs. 100% of control mice; n = 20–25/group). Probucol (1%) was ineffective. MDL appears effective in preventing the onset of disease in two mouse models of IDDM.

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