Evaluation of the natural killer cytotoxicity and the levels of cytokines in rats with type I diabetes mellitus.
ABSTRACT Type I diabetes mellitus (insulin-dependent DM = IDDM) is a chronic disease characterized by specific destruction of pancreatic beta cells, resulting in an absolute lack of insulin. Immune mechanisms, genetic susceptibility, and environmental factors are all implicated in the pathogenesis of Type 1 diabetes. This study was aimed at determining the efficiency of cytokines, natural killer (NK) cells in the pathophysiology of IDDM. Therefore, we evaluated the plasma levels of cytokines by specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the cytotoxicity activity of NK cells by anti-candididal index in rats with type I diabetes. We found that the cytotoxicity activity of NK cells in IDDM groups significantly decreased compared to the control groups. The levels of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) in IDDM groups were slightly higher than in healthy controls. These results indicate that the changes of T H1 type cytokines such as IFN-gamma and NK cell activity can play a role in the etiology of IDDM. The data may provide new strategies for the treatment of IDDM.