Humoral immunity in the spontaneously diabetic BB rat

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Litters of BB rats with an expected high and low incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes were followed from weaning until the age of about 140 days. Islet cell surface antibodies (ICSA) and lymphocyte antibodies (LA) were determined in a radioligand assay with fixed rat insulinoma (RIN 5F) cells, an insulin-secreting cell line, or spleen lymphocytes. In the low-incidence litter, 2 out of 14 rats had ICSA and LA; one showed insulitis at the end of the study. In the high-incidence litter, 3 out of 7 developed diabetes; all 3 showed ICSA at weaning. The remaining 4 showed insulitis. All 7 diabetes-susceptible rats had ICSA and LA at some time during the study. It is concluded that there is a high incidence of circulating ICSA and LA in the spontaneously diabetic BB rat. The antibodies can often be detected before the onset of diabetes, and may be implicated in the beta-cell destructive process and in the lymphocytopenia characteristic of the syndrome.


  • Thomas Dyrberg
  • Philippe Poussier
  • Azima F. Nakhooda
  • Errol B. Marliss
  • Ake Lernmark
External organisations
  • Hagedorn Research Institute
  • Hopital Bichat-Claude-Bernard AP-HP
  • University of Toronto
  • McGill University
  • Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-91
Number of pages5
Issue number7 SUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1983 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch