Evidence that nitric oxide (NO) is involved in cytokine-mediated islet β-cell dysfunction and destruction in vitro has led to the hypothesis that increased production of NO may contribute to the pathogenesis of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). This study demonstrates that oral administration of Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (an inhibitor of NO synthase) from 30 to 150 days of age significantly reduced (P < 0.05) the incidence of IDDM in diabetes-prone BB/E rats. This supports the idea that NO plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of IDDM in this animal model.

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