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Åke Lernmark

Principal investigator

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Thyroiditis in the BB rat is associated with lymphopenia but occurs independently of diabetes


  • Anna Pettersson
  • Deborah Wilson
  • Terri Daniels
  • Sarina Tobin
  • Howard J. Jacob
  • Eric S. Lander
  • Åke Lernmark

Summary, in English

The spontaneously diabetic BB rat is an excellent and well studied model for human insulin-dependent diabetes (IDDM), sharing many important features with the human disease. Similarities include an equal frequency of IDDM in males and females, production of antibodies against pancreatic cell antigens, and an MHC disease association. In addition, the BB rat shares with human IDDM patients an increased frequency of autoantibodies against the parietal cells of the stomach and colloid cells of the thyroid gland. Here we investigate the genetic basis of thyroiditis in the BB rat. Based on crosses between BB, Lewis and Fischer rats, we show that two susceptibility factors for diabetes-the lymphopenia trait present in diabetes prone BB rats and the MHC-also appear to be risk factors for thyroiditis. However, the nature of the susceptibility was different for the two autoimmune diseases, with lymphopenia being absolutely required for diabetes although it only conferred increased risk for thyroiditis. Also, in contrast to IDDM, the MHC conferred dominant susceptibility to thyroiditis. Despite these shared risk factors, diabetes per se did not show significant correlation with thyroiditis.

Publishing year







Journal of Autoimmunity





Document type

Journal article






  • ISSN: 0896-8411