T cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetes in the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse. CD8 cytotoxic T cell lines and clones were generated from the lymphocytic infiltrate in the islets of Langerhans of young (7-wk-old). NOD mice by growing them on (NOD x B6-RIP-B7-1)F1 islets. These cells proliferate specifically to NOD islets and kill NOD islets in vitro. The cells are restricted by H-2Kd, and all bear T cell antigen receptor encoded by V beta 6. When these CD8 T cell lines and clones are adoptively transferred to irradiated female NOD, young NOD-SCID, and CB17-SCID mice, diabetes occurs very rapidly, within 10 d of transfer and without CD4 T cells.