Mice infected with reovirus type 1 developed transient diabetes and a runting syndrome. The diabetes was characterized by hyperglycemia, abnormal glucose tolerance tests, and hypoinsulinemia. Inflammatory cells and viral antigens were found in the islets of Langerhans, and virus particles were seen in alpha, beta, and delta cells. The runting syndrome consisted of retarded growth, oily hair, alopecia, and steatorrhea. Inflammatory cells and viral antigens were found in the anterior, but not posterior pituitary. Electron microscopy revealed virus particles in growth hormone (GH)-producing cells and radioimmunoassay showed that the concentration of GH in the blood was decreased. Examination of sera from infected mice revealed autoantibodies that, by immunofluorescence, reacted with cytoplasmic antigens in the islets of Langerhans, anterior pituitary, and gastric mucosa of uninfected mice. Absorption studies and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays designed to identify the reactive antigens showed that some of the autoantibodies were directed against insulin and others against GH. Reovirus type 3, in contrast to reovirus type 1, did not induce autoantibodies to GH. By use of recombinant viruses, the segment of the reovirus genome responsible for the induction of autoantibodies to GH was identified. Virus containing the S1 gene segment from reovirus type 1, which codes for the sigma 1 polypeptide (i.e., hemagglutinin), infected cells in the anterior pituitary and induced autoantibodies to GH, whereas virus containing the S1 gene segment from reovirus type 3 failed to infect cells in the anterior pituitary and did not induce autoantibodies to GH. We conclude that reovirus type 1 infection can lead to polyendocrinopathy and autoimmunity and that the S1 gene segment is required for the induction of autoantibodies to GH.

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