Current Diabetes Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 350-356

First online:

Virus Infections and Type 1 Diabetes Risk

  • Merja RoivainenAffiliated withIntestinal Viruses Unit, Department of Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) Email author 
  • , Karin KlingelAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Pathology, University Hospital Tuebingen

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Common intestinal infections caused by human enteroviruses (HEVs) are considered major environmental factors predisposing to type 1 diabetes (T1D). In spite of the active research of the field, the HEV-induced pathogenetic processes are poorly understood. Recently, after the first documented report on HEV infections in the pancreatic islets of deceased T1D patients, several groups became interested in the issue and studied valuable human material, the autopsy pancreases of diabetic and/or autoantibody-positive patients for HEV infections. In this review, the data on HEV infections in human pancreatic islets are discussed with special reference to the methods used. Likewise, mechanisms that could increase viral access to the pancreas are reviewed and discussed.


Type 1 diabetes Pancreatic islets β-Cell destruction Environmental factor Virus Enterovirus Coxsackievirus Echovirus Prolonged infection Chronic infection Enterovirus detection Detection of viral RNA In situ hybridization RT-PCR Immunostaining VP1 immunostaining Enterovirus 5-D8/1 antibody Diabetogenic mechanism Diabetogenic enteroviruses