Enteral virus infections in early childhood and an enhanced type 1 diabetes-associated antibody response to dietary insulin

J Autoimmun. 2006 Aug;27(1):54-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2006.04.003. Epub 2006 Jun 6.


Enteral virus infections may trigger the development of beta-cell-specific autoimmunity by interacting with the gut-associated lymphoid system. We analyzed the effect of three different virus infections on immunization to dietary insulin in children carrying increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes. Forty-six of 238 children developed multiple diabetes-associated autoantibodies and 31 clinical diabetes (median follow-up time 75 months). Insulin-binding antibodies were measured with EIA method (median follow-up time 24 months). Antibodies to enteroviruses, rotavirus and adenovirus were measured with EIA in samples drawn at birth and the ages of 3 and 6 months. Nineteen enterovirus, 14 rotavirus and 8 adenovirus infections were diagnosed. At the ages of 6, 12, and 18 months, the concentrations of insulin-binding antibodies were higher in children with postnatal entero-, rota- and/or adenovirus infections than in children without these infections. Children who subsequently developed ICA or IA-2 antibodies or clinical type 1 diabetes had higher concentrations of insulin-binding antibodies than children who remained autoantibody negative. Our data suggest that enteral virus infections can enhance immune response to insulin, induced primarily by bovine insulin in cow's milk. An enhanced antibody response to dietary insulin preceded the development of beta-cell specific autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / biosynthesis
  • Autoantibodies / biosynthesis
  • Autoimmunity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / virology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Disease Susceptibility / immunology
  • Disease Susceptibility / virology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / virology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / immunology*
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / complications*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Autoantibodies
  • Insulin