Enteroviruses: new findings on the role of enteroviruses in type 1 diabetes

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2006;38(5-6):721-5. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2005.08.019. Epub 2005 Sep 27.


Common enterovirus infections appear to initiate or facilitate the pathogenetic processes leading to type 1 diabetes, and sometimes also precipitate the clinical disease. It is not known in detail how enterovirus infections bring about the loss of insulin-producing beta-cells, a phenomenon characteristic of the disease. Recent results from studies on pancreases from human autopsies and cultured human islets support the idea that during systemic enterovirus infections, the virus may reach pancreatic islets and cause direct beta-cell damage. Although individual enteroviruses (EV) exhibited differences in their beta-cell tropism in the cultured human islets, all serotypes studied contained highly destructive strains. The final confirmation on the role of enteroviruses in type 1 diabetes can only be obtained from intervention studies. If the association holds true then it would be possible to reduce the risk of developing type 1 diabetes by preventing enterovirus infections with a multivalent enterovirus vaccine that could be given to children soon after birth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / virology*
  • Enterovirus / pathogenicity
  • Enterovirus Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / virology