New study of human pancreases links virus to cause of type 1 diabetes

Not sure how many of you are on the Twitter (find me here), but this story has been circling all day today. It's a JDRF funded study that finds specific types of viruses are present in T1 diabetics.


I don't have too much time right now to dig, but will take a closer look when I get home from work.


Any thoughts?

I enjoyed reading that..though I wouldn't give my kid a shot if they had it...but this REALLY bugged me.

"This is due in large part to the unique availability of such a large number of pancreases from young people who had died of type 1 diabetes soon after becoming ill."

Sounds interesting as a tool to possibly prevent new cases, not a cure for current cases. I would like additional information, if anyone can post a citation or full html link.  My specific concerns are the cause of death for the 72 individuals (this makes a very specific population), and the heritability estimates (the numbers are only good for a single study, there's no good translation for the general population like the adjusted R square in a regression).  Has anyone come across studies of entereoviruses in animal models?


I'm adding my two cents here, having not yet read the article (and being slightly apprehensive about it, but still interested...I'll just wait until I've had enough sleep and am in a good space)...but I had scarlet fever around a year before I was diagnosed. I've often wondered if there was a connection between the two things.

Thank you for posting this.

So I read the article, finally. I wasn't thrilled with the 72 pancreases line either.

However, what I found interesting is the whole notion of enteroviruses. Beta cells being infected, some of them, triggering off the immune system response...

And then there's the whole type 2 diabetic precedence of enteroviruses in beta cells that they had. Type 1 pancreases had 60% enterovirus in beta cell presence while type 2 had 40% presence of the beta cell enterovirus. This, to me, is indicative of some sort of underlying cause not only in t1 but t2 as well.

I am guessing that an enterovirus is cell-specific; is this true? If so, how odd. I have wondered if there was an autoimmune reaction, if it was a single episode that then, with corrective approaches, could be reversed. Anyone else wonder if (call me hairbrained, fine...ignorance is bliss) if there would be some possible reversal to the autoimmune reaction?

I've often wondered why it was that certain ancestral lines get more cases of t1. Environmental ancestry somehow...linked?

Thanks for letting the laywoman ramble.

i read something on that. my thought is: when you have a virus, it can get into your pancreas. it might go after your beta cells and infect them or be around them or something. your immune system tries to get rid of the virus and since it was infecting your beta cells or was around them, your immune system attacks them in attempt to get rid of the virus.

does that make any sense to anyone? if scientists havent figured that out yet, why havent they? its just like common sense.

I read that particular article and several related ones suggesting a link between the this particular virus and T1.  I do believe that the research is suggestive, but beyond that I am not overly surprised by their findings.  I don't know if many of you remember the days when they had a strong "causal-link" between the zoster virus (chickenpox) and T1, I remember having chickenpox 6 months before my diagnosis and being rushed to the Joslin center to have blood drawn and tested.  Since that time the link has been disproved (I am not sure if that is the best work but....) but the hypothesis stayed around for a number of years.  It will be interesting to see how long this finding holds any relevance?  It would be great if one could develop a vaccine for T1, much like they are trying to do for some cancers.  It may not be a cure for us, but it will stop the condition from impacting further generations.  That would definitely be an awesome milestone!

Interesting. I had chicken pox as a kid, around 5. Diagnosed with T1 at 10. I'm now 35 I've always wondered what the "trigger" was.

I was diognosed right after (4-5 Months) after having the chicken pox. Not saying that was the trigger but its a posibility...

I also had chicken pox a few years before diagnosis with t1.

This is crazy.

I was also diagnosed while recovering from the Epstein-Barr virus, or mononucleosis. I have always blamed this for compromising my immune system.

Actually I am grossed out a little by an enterovirus (fecal-oral rout virus- yuck!) But it makes sense when these enteroviruses cause inflammation of the pancreas, heart, and/or brain.

Hey Cesar,

Chicken pox can actually be a trigger, along with any illness that weakens the immune system. My mom and I were both diagnosed when we were 6 years old, shortly after the chicken pox. Illnesses like the chicken pox causes our bodies to go in defense mode and our body attacks and kills the beta cells, thinking that they're bad. Beta cells are what makes and releases insulin in our bodies.


I was diagnosed with T1D 3 years prior (age 5) to having chicken pox (age 8).

I am Type 1, diagnosed at 16yrs.old, 6mos. or so after I had contracted 5th Disease, similar to chicken pox.  I have always wondered if that is what caused my diabetes.  ?????

I too have heard Chicken Pox could be a trigger for T1. I had a really bad case of Chicken Pox when I was 10. It lasted for an entire two weeks and to make matters worse I somehow got Poison Ivy at the same time. I was diagnosed with T1 last August and I'm 35.

I had Mononucleosis for about six months before I started losing weight, drinking alot of water, etc. and found out I was a Type 1 Diabetic. Diabetes doesn't even run in my family!



I'm 24 and was just diagnosed last year and I have never had a major illness or anything. I've actually hardly ever been sick with a cold but like twice, so I'm not sure if I believe the article or not.

I had chickenpox and the less common papura.