Infant diet is suggested to modify autoimmune diabetes risk. The aim of this study was to determine whether infant food components affect diabetes development in the nonobese autoimmune diabetes (NOD) mouse.
A basal low-diabetogenic diet was identified by feeding litter-matched female NOD mice standardized diets with and without casein and wheat proteins after weaning. In subsequent trials, basal diet with supplements of wheat (5, 10 and 30%), gluten, wheat globulin/albumin, corn (5%), potato (5%), apple (5%) or carrot (5%) was fed to litter-matched female NOD mice after weaning. Mice were followed for diabetes development and insulin autoantibodies.
A casein- and wheat-free diet was associated with the lowest rate of diabetes development (37% by age 25 weeks). Increased diabetes rates were observed when the basal diet was supplemented with 5% wheat (71% by age 25 weeks; p = 0.023) and 5% corn (57% by age 25 weeks; p = 0.05). Increasing wheat concentrations returned diabetes development to that in basal diet-fed mice. Other food supplements had no or minimal effects on diabetes development.
Early supplementation of a basal low-diabetogenic diet with low concentrations of the cereals wheat or corn is associated with a moderate increase in the rate of diabetes. Removal of cereals, however, does not abrogate diabetes development in NOD mice.