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Åke Lernmark

Principal investigator

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T cells from BB-DP rats show a unique cytokine mRNA profile associated with the IDDMI susceptibility gene, LYP


  • Daniel P. Gold
  • Samuel T. Shaikewitz
  • Deanna Mueller
  • Joan R. Redd
  • Karen S. Sellins
  • Anna Pettersson
  • Ake Lernmark
  • Donald Bellgrau

Summary, in English

Diabetes prone biobreeding rats display several abnormalites in T cell numbers, T cell function and T cell surface phenotype which are associated with the onset of spontaneous disease. One of the most pronounced abnormalities in these animals is a marked T cell lymphopenia which is evident in both CD4+ and CD8+ peripheral T cell subsets. To gain a better understanding as to the nature of T cell responses in these animals, we have utilized RT-PCR to analyze the cytokine mRNA profiles of mitogen activated peripheral T cells derived from lymphopenic and non-lymphopenic animals. Our results suggest that inheritance of the lymphopenia gene, Lyp, is associated with a unique cytokine profile most similar to that previously described for mouse medullary thymocytes. In addition, cell surface staining of peripheral T cells from diabetes prone animals revealed a high frequency of Thyl+ cells, which is characteristic of both thymocytes and recent thymic emigrants. Following thymectomy, T cell responsiveness to a number of different stimuli is greatly reduced on a cell for cell basis as is the absolute number of surviving T cells. Taken collectively, our results suggest that the majority of the peripheral T cell pool in these diabetic prone rats consists of short lived, recent thymic emigrants which most likely also contain the effector cells required for initiation of diabetes.

Publishing year












Document type

Journal article


Taylor & Francis


  • BB rats
  • Lymphopenia
  • T cell development




  • ISSN: 0891-6934