Extending the Enterovirus Lead: Could a Related Picornavirus be Responsible for Diabetes in Humans?

Microorganisms
William Klitz, Bo Niklasson

Abstract

We found an association between the abundance of rodents in the wild and onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in humans. A picornavirus named Ljungan virus (LV) was subsequently isolated from wild bank voles. Both picornavirus-like particles detected by electron microscopy and LV antigen visualized by immunohistochemistry was seen in islets of Langerhans in diabetic wild bank voles. LV antigen has also been found in islets of Langerhans in a patient with recent onset of T1D and in the commonly used Bio Breeding (BB) T1D rat model. We discuss the possibility of T1D and type 2 diabetes (T2D) as parts of a single disease entity. Antiviral compounds directed against picornavirus have been found to be an effective treatment of diabetes in BB rats. We propose using the same currently available antiviral compounds in clinical trials in humans. Antiviral treatment would have the potential to be both proof of concept for involvement of a picornavirus in diabetes pathogenesis and also present a first-generation therapy.

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PCR

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