Susceptibility to IDDM is strongly associated with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II genotypes. Nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice develop a similar autoimmune diabetes and have a unique MHC class IIIA allele that is required for the development of diabetes. A number of groups have shown that the introduction of resistant MHC class II alleles as transgenes into the NOD mouse protects from diabetes. We made control transgenic NOD mice, expressing their own Iβg7 molecule as a transgene. One of two lines of these mice showed a reduced incidence of diabetes, without any change in T-cell proliferative response to a number of diabetes autoantigens or any change in insulitis severity. This line developed a subtle decrease in the percentage of splenic B-cells that progressed with age. This defect was not associated with any other phenotypic abnormalities. Our findings suggest that assessment of splenic B-cell number is necessary in interpretation of the effects of MHC class II transgenes on the development of diabetes in the NOD mouse.

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