Sex-Specific Effect of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes 4 on Regulation of Diabetes Pathogenesis in the Nonobese Diabetic Mouse
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Many human autoimmune diseases are more frequent in females than males, and their clinical severity is affected by sex hormone levels. A strong female bias is also observed in the NOD mouse model of type I diabetes (T1D). In both NOD mice and humans, T1D displays complex polygenic inheritance and T cell-mediated autoimmune pathogenesis. The identities of many of the insulin-dependent diabetes (Idd) loci, their influence on specific stages of autoimmune pathogenesis, and sex-specific effects of Idd loci in the NOD model are not well understood. To address these questions, we analyzed cyclophosphamide-accelerated T1D (CY-T1D) that causes disease with high and similar frequencies in male and female NOD mice, but not in diabetes-resistant animals, including the nonobese diabetes-resistant (NOR) strain. In this study we show by genetic linkage analysis of (NOD x NOR) x NOD backcross mice that progression to severe islet inflammation after CY treatment was controlled by the Idd4 and Idd9 loci. Congenic strains on both the NOD and NOR backgrounds confirmed the roles of Idd4 and Idd9 in CY-T1D susceptibility and revealed the contribution of a third locus, Idd5. Importantly, we show that the three loci acted at distinct stages of islet inflammation and disease progression. Among these three loci, Idd4 alleles alone displayed striking sex-specific behavior in CY-accelerated disease. Additional studies will be required to address the question of whether a sex-specific effect of Idd4, observed in this study, is also present in the spontaneous model of the disease with striking female bias.
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