Target cell defense prevents the development of diabetes after viral infection

Malin Flodström, Amy Maday, Deepika Balakrishna, Mary Malo Cleary, Akihiko Yoshimura, Nora Sarvetnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

162 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanisms that regulate susceptibility to virus-induced autoimmunity remain undefined. We establish here a fundamental link between the responsiveness of target pancreatic β cells to interferons (IFNs) and prevention of coxsackievirus B4 (CVB4)-induced diabetes. We found that an intact β cell response to IFNs was critical in preventing disease in infected hosts. The antiviral defense, raised by β cells in response to IFNs, resulted in a reduced permissiveness to infection and subsequent natural killer (NK) cell-dependent death. These results show that β cell defenses are critical for β cell survival during CVB4 infection and suggest an important role for IFNs in preserving NK cell tolerance to β cells during viral infection. Thus, alterations in target cell defenses can critically influence susceptibility to disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-382
Number of pages10
JournalNature Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Apr


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

Cite this

Flodström, M., Maday, A., Balakrishna, D., Cleary, M. M., Yoshimura, A., & Sarvetnick, N. (2002). Target cell defense prevents the development of diabetes after viral infection. Nature Immunology, 3(4), 373-382.