The Role of Human Herpesvirus 8 in Diabetes Mellitus Type 2: State of the Art and a Medical Hypothesis

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;901:37-45. doi: 10.1007/5584_2015_5014.


Diabetes is a common chronic disease due to an altered glucose metabolism, caused by the quantitative and/or qualitative dysfunction of the insulin hormone. Two types of diabetes are recognized: juvenile diabetes, or type 1, which has an autoimmune origin, and adult diabetes, or type 2 (DMT2), which covers 90-95 % of all diabetic patients.The causes of DMT2 are not yet clear: heredity, life style, nutrition, and environment are considered the main risk factors. Several viral infections, namely cytomegalovirus, coxsackie and other enteroviruses, rubella and hepatitis C virus, have been claimed to be associated with some forms of diabetes. The direct role of viruses as a cause or as a risk of type 1 diabetes has been amply described in several recent reviews. Therefore, this review focuses attention on the role of a human herpes pathogenic virus in the onset of DMT2. By carrying out an analysis of recent literature, we describe the findings reported on an extremely deceitful virus, such as Human Herpes virus 8, and present a medical hypothesis on a possible relationship between this virus and DMT2.

Keywords: Diabetes type 2; Human Herpesvirus 8; Insulin resistance; Latent virus infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / virology*
  • Herpesviridae Infections / metabolism
  • Herpesviridae Infections / virology*
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / physiology*
  • Humans