Viral Mechanisms Leading to Diabetes Mellitus — A Summary

  • Y. Becker
Part of the Developments in Medical Virology book series (DIMV, volume 2)


The nature of the viral mechanisms leading to destruction of pancreatic beta cells or cessation of insulin production is still not fully understood. A link between the class 1 hypervariable region (HVR) and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) was noted in which autoantibodies to beta cell membrane antigens are synthesized against specific HLA types (DR-3 and DR-4) and lead to destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells. Coxsackie B4 infectious hepatitis and congenital rubella viruses find receptors on the beta cells that allow for virus infection and cell destruction. Mimicry between virus antigens and beta cell membrane antigens leads to the appearance of islet cell antibodies (ICA), as in the case of mumps virus infections. Members of the herpesvirus group infect beta cells, causing cessation of insulin production and the production of antibodies to viral antigens that crossreact with insulin (insulin autoantibodies), as occurs in chickenpox.


Beta Cell Herpes Simplex Virus Type Pancreatic Beta Cell Hypervariable Region Insulin Production 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, Boston 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. Becker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Virology Faculty of MedicineThe Hebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

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