A recent study led by researcher Antonio Toniolo of the University of Insubria and Circle Hospital in Verese, Italy, reported a connection between infection with enteroviruses and diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children. These findings are similar to previous reports that have shown an association between enterovirus infections and type 1 diabetes.
The study, reported in the American Society for Microbiology, suggests the existence of the virus could be a biomarker for diabetes in its early stages. Enteroviruses are very common viruses, and most people infected with an enterovirus have no obvious illness and symptoms. In others, the virus can cause colds, cold sores, rashes and viral meningitis.
In the study, the researchers tested the blood of 112 children, ages 2 to 16, at the time of type 1 diabetes diagnosis to see if their blood contained enteroviral DNA. The researchers found genetic signs of enterovirus infection in 83 percent of the diabetic children, compared with just 7 percent of children without diabetes.
The findings may help researchers discover new ways to find additional environmental factors and prevent or treat type 1 diabetes.
Although JDRF did not fund the study, JDRF is funding a number of research studies to understand the causes of type 1 diabetes. JDRF also partners with the National Institutes of Health to support the NIH funded study, The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study. TEDDY follows more than 7,000 newborns at increased genetic risk of developing diabetes, over a 15-year period to discover environmental triggers that lead to type 1 diabetes and will help develop therapies to both prevent and cure the disease.
As previous News Blog entries have covered, researchers are working to determine how genetics and environmental