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 journalArticlepeer-review

188 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
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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