UNIT 15.3 The BB Rat as a Model of Human Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus

  1. Barbara J. Whalen,
  2. John P. Mordes,
  3. Aldo A. Rossini

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471142735.im1503s19

Current Protocols in Immunology

Current Protocols in Immunology

How to Cite

Whalen, B. J., Mordes, J. P. and Rossini, A. A. 2001. The BB Rat as a Model of Human Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus. Current Protocols in Immunology. 19:15.3:15.3.1–15.3.15.

Author Information

  1. University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: SEP 1996


Use of the BioBreeding (BB) rat to model human insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) is useful in that characteristics of diabetes in the BB rat closely parallel those observed in human IDDM. Diabetic animals can be biopsied, autopsied, and bred to study the genetic basis of IDDM. The genetic, immunological, and environmental components of the disease can all be investigated under controlled conditions. Two inbred lines of BB have been used in the majority of published studies using this model system; these rats are designated as diabetes prone (DP-BB/Wor) and diabetes resistant (DR-BB/Wor). This unit presents two protocols for the diagnosis and prevention of spontaneous IDDM in DP-BB/Wor rats. Two alternate protocols are given for the induction of autoimmune disease in DR-BB/Wor rats and for the adoptive transfer of autoimmunity into histocompatible athymic WAG nu/nu recipient rats. Support protocols are also given for diagnosis of insulitis, treatment of diabetic rats with insulin, and serological analysis of blood samples from sentinel rats to monitor the pathogen status of the colony.