Respiratory infections and type 1 diabetes: Potential roles in pathogenesis

Rev Med Virol. 2023 Mar;33(2):e2429. doi: 10.1002/rmv.2429. Epub 2023 Feb 15.


Among the environmental factors associated with type 1 diabetes (T1D), viral infections of the gut and pancreas has been investigated most intensely, identifying enterovirus infections as the prime candidate trigger of islet autoimmunity (IA) and T1D development. However, the association between respiratory tract infections (RTI) and IA/T1D is comparatively less known. While there are significant amounts of epidemiological evidence supporting the role of respiratory infections in T1D, there remains a paucity of data characterising infectious agents at the molecular level. This gap in the literature precludes the identification of the specific infectious agents driving the association between RTI and T1D. Furthermore, the effect of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections on the development of IA/T1D remains undeciphered. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of the evidence to date, implicating RTIs (viral and non-viral) as potential risk factors for IA/T1D.

Keywords: autoimmunity; respiratory infection; type 1 diabetes; virome; virus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1*
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans* / pathology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / pathology
  • SARS-CoV-2