Résumé : Cytokine-induced beta-cell death is an important event in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. The transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) is activated by interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), and its activity promotes the expression of several beta-cell genes, including pro- and anti-apoptotic genes. To elucidate the role of cytokine (IL-1beta + gamma-interferon [IFN-gamma])-induced expression of NF-kappaB in beta-cell apoptosis, rat beta-cells were infected with the recombinant adenovirus AdIkappaB((SA)2), which contained a nondegradable mutant form of inhibitory kappaB (IkappaB((SA)2), with S32A and S36A) that locks NF-kappaB in a cytosolic protein complex, preventing its nuclear action. Expression of IkappaB((SA)2) inhibited cytokine-stimulated nuclear translocation and DNA-binding of NF-kappaB. Cytokine-induced gene expression of several NF-kappaB targets, namely inducible nitric oxide synthase, Fas, and manganese superoxide dismutase, was prevented by AdIkappaB((SA)2), as established by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, protein blot, and measurement of nitrite in the medium. Finally, beta-cell survival after IL-1beta + IFN-gamma treatment was significantly improved by IkappaB((SA)2) expression, mostly through inhibition of the apoptotic pathway. Based on these findings, we conclude that NF-kappaB activation, under in vitro conditions, has primarily a pro-apoptotic function in beta-cells.