Enteroviral Pathogenesis of Type 1 Diabetes

Discov Med. 2010 Aug;10(51):151-60.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the disturbance of pancreatic insulin-producing cells, which results in hyperglycemia. The disease is associated with severe complications that impair the quality of life of individuals. The cause of T1D is unknown. Development of the disease is the result of interactions between immunological, genetic, and environmental factors. Viruses are thought to play an important role in the initiation or acceleration of the disease. This is an important issue since it opens the possibility to develop new preventive and therapeutic strategies to fight the disease. The role of enteroviruses in the development of T1D, in particular type B coxsackieviruses, is supported by epidemiological observations. It has been demonstrated that enterovirus infections were significantly more common in recently diagnosed diabetic patients, compared with control subjects. Enteroviral RNA and/or proteins can be detected in blood samples and intestine biopsies of patients with T1D. The hypothesis of a relationship between enteroviruses and the disease has been strengthened by the presence of enteroviral components or infectious particles in the pancreas of patients with T1D. In this review, arguments in favor of a relationship between enterovirus infections and T1D and the mechanisms of the enteroviral pathogenesis of the disease are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / virology*
  • Enterovirus / physiology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / physiology
  • Humans
  • Virus Replication / physiology