No Association Between Ljungan Virus Seropositivity and the Beta-cell Damaging Process in the Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention Study Cohort

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2019 Mar;38(3):314-316. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002201.


Background: Ljungan virus (LV) has not confirmed to associate with any human disease, but a possible connection with type 1 diabetes has been suggested. LV is a rodent-borne picornavirus that induces a diabetes-like condition in rodents. Approximately 30% of adults and 60% of children are seropositive in Finland. The Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention study enabled the use of very well characterized sample panels from children seroconverted to positivity for multiple islet autoantibodies during their prospective observation from birth; in addition, samples from age, sex, human leukocyte antigen (HLA), and residence area matched control children.

Methods: We analyzed LV IgG seroprevalence in 102 case children (65 had also developed type 1 diabetes), in addition to nondiabetic control children. LV and human parechovirus (HPeV) immunofluorescence assays were used to analyze LV and HPeV-specific IgG from 102 plasma samples taken at the time of islet autoantibody appearance and from 204 samples from the matched control children.

Results: Altogether 46.1% of the case and 50.7% of the control children were positive for LV IgG (odds ratio 0.8; 95% confidence interval, 0.47-1.36; P = 0.416) and 67.6% versus 79.8% were positive for HPeV IgG, respectively (odds ratio 0.49, 0.27-0.9, P = 0.023).

Conclusions: Thus, no risk associations between LV or HPeV-specific IgG and islet autoimmunity were observed. However, a trend for significantly higher prevalence of HPeV antibodies in control children (P = 0.023) suggests a possible protective association of this virus with islet autoimmunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / virology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / virology
  • Male
  • Parechovirus / genetics
  • Parechovirus / immunology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G