Alpha interferon administration paradoxically inhibits the development of diabetes in BB rats.
Sobel, DO; Creswell, K; Yoon, JW; Holterman, D
Life sciences, 62(15):1293-1302, 1998
Alpha-interferon (IFN-alpha) is thought to be important in the pathogenesis of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). However, since potent inducers of IFN-alpha, viruses, have been shown to modulate immune function and autoimmunity, we investigated whether administration of recombinant IFN-alpha (rIFN-alpha) would inhibit the diabetic process in BB rats. The development of diabetes was significantly inhibited by injections of either 10(5) units or 4x10(5) units rIFN-alpha. rIFN-alpha was more effective in preventing disease when injections were initiated at an earlier age (28-30 days vs 35-40 days). Histologic examination revealed a markedly lower degree of insulitis in rIFN-alpha treated rats. The mean total peripheral WBC and differential count, T-cell subsets, peripheral blood NK cell number, splenic NK cell activity, and serum cytotoxic beta cell surface antibody levels were unaltered by rIFN-alpha administration. In vitro incubation with rIFN-alpha inhibited the Con A proliferative response of mononuclear splenocytes of BB rats but not of Sprague Dawley rats. These results document that rIFN-alpha treatment potently prevents diabetes by inhibiting the development of insulitis. This paradoxical diabetes sparing effect may have significant implications for the treatment and prevention of IDDM and towards the understanding the autoimmune process.
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