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Battle of the T-cells.

Last year, experiments suggested that two types of T-lymphocytes -- CD4 and CD 8 -- spar with each other in diabetes-prone mice. Researchers concluded that CD8 cells may play a protective role in these mice by suppressing the CD4 cells, which attack pancreatic islet cells (SN:3/31/90, p.198).

Now, another T-cell has entered the fray. Charles Janeway Jr. and his colleagues at Yale University propose that "autoreactive" T-lymphocytes are the real protecting influence and that CD4 and CD8 cells combine forces for a destructive effect.

The Yale group injected irradiated mice, which normally do not develop diabetes, with cloned CD4 and CD8 cells. The majority of the mice receiving a mix of the two types became diabetic, Janeway reports, while most of those receiving either cell type alone have so far avoided the disease.

In another experiment, the researchers injected cloned autoreactive T-cells into prediabetic mice. So far, only a few have developed the disease. "A single injection greatly retards the onset of diabetes," concludes Janeway. He theorizes that the autoreactive T-cells help regulate diabetes by suppressing the production of islet-attacking T-cells and by protecting the islets themselves.
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Title Annotation:role of CD4, CD8, and T-lymphocytes in diabetes
Author:Travis, John
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 6, 1991
Words:189
Previous Article:Diabetic distinction debated.
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