The Diabetes Virus Detection study (DiViD) is the first to examine fresh pancreatic tissue at the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes for the presence of viruses. Minimal pancreatic tail resection was performed 3-9 weeks after onset of type 1 diabetes in six adult patients (age 24-35 years). The presence of enteroviral capsid protein 1 (VP1) and the expression of class I HLA were investigated by immunohistochemistry. Enterovirus RNA was analyzed from isolated pancreatic islets and from fresh-frozen whole pancreatic tissue using PCR and sequencing. Nondiabetic organ donors served as controls. VP1 was detected in the islets of all type 1 diabetic patients (two of nine controls). Hyperexpression of class I HLA molecules was found in the islets of all patients (one of nine controls). Enterovirus-specific RNA sequences were detected in four of six patients (zero of six controls). The results were confirmed in various laboratories. Only 1.7% of the islets contained VP1(+) cells, and the amount of enterovirus RNA was low. The results provide evidence for the presence of enterovirus in pancreatic islets of type 1 diabetic patients, which is consistent with the possibility that a low-grade enteroviral infection in the pancreatic islets contributes to disease progression in humans.
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