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Clin Exp Immunol. 2012 Apr;168(1):1-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2011.04553.x.

Viruses and type 1 diabetes: ignorance acquires a better vocabulary.

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  • University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. edwin.gale@bristol.ac.uk


The hypothesis that a virus might in some way be involved in the causation of type 1 diabetes has a long history, but decades of research have failed to resolve the issue beyond reasonable doubt. Viruses could potentially play a primary role in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes by initiating autoimmunity, a secondary role by promoting established immune responses, or a tertiary role by precipitating the onset of hyperglycaemia. There is currently little evidence to suggest that viruses play a primary role in the causation of type 1 diabetes, let alone a necessary or sufficient role. Secondary or tertiary roles remain possible, but have yet to be confirmed in prospective studies.

© 2011 The Author. Clinical and Experimental Immunology © 2011 British Society for Immunology.

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