Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterized by the autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. Although environmental factors interplay with genetic susceptibility to promote immune dysregulation and disease, it remains unclear as to which potential environmental factors are causative and not simply correlative. Despite many hints that the microbiome can have a profound effect on T1D, significant changes in bacterial gut flora and diversity appear to emerge only after the detection of early signs of T1D. Surprisingly, we recently found significant differences in the gut virome preceding the initial signs of T1D, raising the tantalizing possibility that the state of the virome may influence or predict whether susceptible individuals progress on the path to disease. The challenge will be to discern whether there is likely a causative relationship between detected virome differences and T1D.
Keywords: CRESS DNA virus; bacteriophages; microbiome; type 1 diabetes; virome.