Transfer of an interleukin 2/interferon-γ-secreting islet-specific CD4+ T-cell clone, BDC-6.9, in the immunodeficient NOD-scid mouse induces destruction of pancreatic β-cells without help from host B-cells, CD4+ T-cells, or CD8+ T-cells. However, a second islet-specific T-cell clone, BDC-2.5, showing the same cytokine profile and T-cell receptor Vβ expression as BDC-6.9 was not capable of inducing diabetes or insulitis in NOD-scid mice. Even though BDC-2.5 by itself readily induces diabetes in young unmanipulated NOD mice, cotransfer of CD8-enriched T-cells was required to induce disease in NOD-scid mice. Immunohistochemical staining of pancreatic lesions in young NOD mice receiving either BDC-2.5 or BDC-6.9 showed the presence of CD4+, CD8+, Vβ4+, and MAC-1+ cells within the infiltrate, similar to infiltrates in lesions of spontaneously diabetic female NOD mice. In contrast, NOD-scid mice that received BDC-6.9 showed only the presence of CD4+Vβ4+ T-cells and a large population of MAC-1+ cells in islet lesions. NOD-scid recipients of cotransferred BDC-2.5/CD8+ splenic T-cells showed a small population of CD4+ T-cells and a larger population of CD8+ T-cells within the infiltrated islets, whereas no infiltrate was detectable in recipients of CD8+ splenocytes or BDC-2.5 alone. Our results suggest that at least two types of islet-specific CD4+ T-cell clones play a role in diabetes pathogenesis.

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