THURSDAY, 10 AUGUST 2006
The mice used were from the NOD (non-obese diabetic) strain, which usually develop type-1 diabetes spontaneously. The research suggests that infection with an attenuated form of Salmonella markedly alters the production and function of a number of chemicals and cell types involved in immunity.
This modulation of the immune system provided long-term protection against diabetes, and the mice also went on to successfully clear the Salmonella infection.
The team also found that transferring a particular type of immune cell, called a dendritic cell, from mice that had been infected with Salmonella to non-immunised mice provided protection against diabetes, even when the uninfected mouse was treated with a chemical that usually hastens diabetes onset.
Members of the University of Cambridge departments of Pathology and Clinical Veterinary Medicine have been collaborating to conduct the work.
The study, published this month in the Journal of Immunology, adds to a controversial but growing body of evidence suggesting that infection with various agents such as viruses, bacteria and parasites may alter the course of development of autoimmune diseases.
The original article in the Journal of Immunology
Written by David Jones