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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Perspectives on the role of viruses in insulin-dependent diabetes.

Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) results from the destruction of pancreatic beta cells. Viruses have been suggested as one of the possible causes. The evidence for viruses comes largely from experiments in animals, but several studies in humans also point to viruses as a trigger of this disease in some cases. Encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus, Mengovirus (2T), and Coxsackie B4 virus infect and destroy pancreatic beta cells when inoculated into mice. This results in hypoinsulinemia and hyperglycemia. The development of EMC virus-induced diabetes is dependent on the genetic background of the host and genetic makeup of the virus. Animals with diabetes for several months show some long-term complications, including glomerulosclerosis, ocular changes, and decreased bone formation and mineralization in addition to acute metabolic changes. EMC virus-induced diabetes can be prevented by a live-attenuated vaccine. The capacity of Coxsackie B4 virus to induce diabetes is also influenced by the genetic background of the host. However, Mengovirus-induced diabetes is not dependent on the genetic background of the host. In contrast to the EMC, Mengo, and Coxsackie B4 viruses, reovirus type 1 seems to be somehow associated with an autoimmune response producing a diabetes-like syndrome in suckling mice. This virus produces an autoimmune polyendocrinopathy that results in very mild and transient glucose intolerance. Several common human viruses including mumps, Coxsackie B3 and B4 viruses, and reovirus type 3 can infect human beta cells in culture and destroy them. A variant of Coxsackie B4 virus has been isolated from the pancreas of a child who died of acute-onset IDDM.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[1]


  1. Perspectives on the role of viruses in insulin-dependent diabetes. Yoon, J.W., Ray, U.R. Diabetes Care (1985) [Pubmed]
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