Enteroviruses and type 1 diabetes

Steven Tracy, Kristen M. Drescher, Nora M. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Human enteroviruses, which are transmitted via a faecal-oral route, have long been associated with type 1 diabetes onset. Increased hygiene in the 20th century may now be responsible for a decreased chance of enterovirus exposure from an early age onward. Infections with enteroviruses may also be more likely to occur at a later age; the recurrent poliomyelitis epidemics in the 20th century were linked to increased hygiene, consistent with this hypothesis. The association of fewer enterovirus exposures and increased diabetes rates may seem at first non-intuitive but may be explained using a combination of human observations and data from experimental coxsackie B virus infections in nonobese diabetic mice. Methods: Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes samples were examined for the presence of detectable enteroviral RNA by RT-PCR. Results: Viral RNA was not detected. Conclusions: A role for enteroviruses in the aetiology of human type 1 diabetes is hard to refute but in order to definitively link enteroviruses in general, and specific viruses in particular, with the disease, pancreas biopsy tissue must become available at the time of disease diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)820-823
Number of pages4
JournalDiabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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