Current Diabetes Reports

, 18:106 | Cite as

Enteroviral Infections as a Trigger for Type 1 Diabetes

  • Teresa Rodriguez-CalvoEmail author
Other Forms of Diabetes and Its Complications (JJ Nolan and H Thabit, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Other Forms of Diabetes and Its Complications


Purpose of Review

To provide an overview of studies that have detected enteroviruses (EV) in samples from people with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the techniques they have used, and which challenges they have encountered.

Recent Findings

Recent studies have detected EVs in serum, blood, stools, nasal swabs, and pancreas of people with T1D before or around clinical onset of disease, indicating that an association between EV infections and T1D exists. However, definitive evidence for its role as disease triggers is lacking. Recent access to human samples is starting to provide the necessary tools to define their role in disease pathogenesis. Emerging evidence suggests that chronic infections take place in the pancreas of diabetic donors. However, the development of sensitive techniques able to detect low amounts of viral protein and RNA still constitute a major challenge for the field.


New evidence at the protein, RNA, and host immune response level suggests a role for EV infections in the development of autoimmunity. In the upcoming years, new technologies, collaborative efforts, and therapeutic interventions are likely to find a definitive answer for their role in disease pathogenesis.


Enteroviruses Type 1 diabetes IFN-response Viral protein Viral RNA 



Type 1 diabetes






Autoantibody positive.


Human leukocyte antigen class I


Insulin containing islet


Insulin deficient islet


Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes


In situ hybridization


Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction







T.R-C is supported by a research grant from Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen and a JDRF research grant awarded to the nPOD-V consortium (JDRF 25-2012-516).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Teresa Rodriguez-Calvo declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, German Research Center for Environmental HealthInstitute of Diabetes ResearchMunich-NeuherbergGermany

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