Virus persists in β cells of islets of langerhans and is associated with chemical manifestations of diabetes

Michael B A Oldstone, Peter Southern, Moses Rodriguez, Peter Lampert

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Abstract

Molecular hybridization, monoclonal antibody, and electron microscopic analyses showed lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (strains Armstrong and WE) persisently infecting cells of the islets of Langerhans in BALB/WEHI mice. When monoclonal or monospecific antibody conjugated with two different fluorochrome dyes was used to mark insulin-containing β cells or viral antigens, viral nucleoprotein was identified predominately in β cells. Electron microscopy confirmed these findings by showing virions budding from the β cells. Persistent infection was associated with chemical evidence of diabetes (hyperglycemia, abnormal glucose tolerance, and normal or low-normal concentrations of insulin). Concentrations of cortisol and insulin-like growth factor in blood were normal, as was the level of growth hormone in the pituitary gland. The virus-infected islet cells showed normal anatomy and cytomorphology. Neither cell lysis nor inflammatory infiltrates were routinely seen. Thus a virus may persistently infect islet cells and provide a biochemical and morphological picture comparable to that of early adult-onset diabetes mellitus in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1440-1443
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume224
Issue number4656
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes

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Oldstone, M. B. A., Southern, P., Rodriguez, M., & Lampert, P. (1984). Virus persists in β cells of islets of langerhans and is associated with chemical manifestations of diabetes. Science, 224(4656), 1440-1443.