, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 282–289 | Cite as

The natural history of lymphocyte subsets infiltrating the pancreas of NOD mice

  • A. Signore
  • P. Pozzilli
  • E. A. M. Gale
  • D. Andreani
  • P. C. L. Beverley


A longitudinal study of lymphocytic infiltration in the endocrine pancreas of non-obese diabetic mice was performed to investigate the role of different lymphocyte subsets in the pathogenesis of diabetes. The incidence of insulitis and the percentage of mononuclear cell subsets in the pancreas were evaluated in non-obese diabetic mice of various ages (5, 9, 13, 17, 22, 29 and 36 weeks). Cryostat sections of pancreas were stained with heamatoxilin-eosin or with different monoclonal antibodies against total T lymphocytes, helper T lymphocytes, cytotoxic/suppressor T lymphocytes, activated interleukin 2 receptor positive lymphocytes and B lymphocytes. A monoclonal antibody against Class-II antigens was also used. Positive cells were revealed by the immunoperoxidase technique. Insulitis was found in 5 weeks old mice but to a lesser extent than in adult animals. No significant variation between infiltrating cell subsets was found in different age groups. T lymphocytes ranged between 20.4% and 28.1%, B lymphocytes between 28.8% and 30.8% and Class-II positive cells between 22.8% and 32.2%. Interleukin 2 receptor positive cells ranged between 5.5% and 8.5% as detected with AMT-13 monoclonal antibody which recognise the interleukin 2 binding site. A higher percentage of activated cells was observed using another monoclonal antibody (7D4) directed against a different epitope of the interleukin 2 receptor, suggesting the presence of activated lymphocytes with interleukin 2 receptors saturated by interleukin 2. No insulin-containing cells were found to express Class-II molecules as demonstrated by a double immunofluorescence technique. Most infiltrating mononuclear cells were found to be positive for Class-II and L3T4 antigens or to be Class-II positive and express surface immunoglobulins. We conclude that pancreatic infiltration is an early expression of autoimmune phenomena occurring in these mice and that monocytes and B-lymphocytes predominate in the infiltrate. The role of interleukin 2 and interleukin 2 receptor positive lymphocytes in inducing and maintaining the immune response towards B cells is discussed.

Key words

Non-obese diabetic mouse insulitis lymphocyte subsets Class-II antigens interleukin 2 receptor insulin-dependent diabetes 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Signore
    • 1
    • 3
  • P. Pozzilli
    • 2
    • 3
  • E. A. M. Gale
    • 2
  • D. Andreani
    • 3
  • P. C. L. Beverley
    • 1
  1. 1.ICRF Human Tumour Immunology GroupUniversity College and Middlesex School of MedicineUK
  2. 2.Department of Diabetes and ImmunogeneticsSt. Bartholomew's HospitalLondonUK
  3. 3.Cattedra Endocrinologia (I), onClinica Medica (II)University of Rome “La Sapienza”RomaItaly

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