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Diabetologia. 2011 Sep;54(9):2417-20. doi: 10.1007/s00125-011-2192-7. Epub 2011 May 20.

Immunohistochemical analysis of the relationship between islet cell proliferation and the production of the enteroviral capsid protein, VP1, in the islets of patients with recent-onset type 1 diabetes.

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Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, John Bull Building, Plymouth PL6 8BU, UK.



The enteroviral capsid protein, VP1, was recently shown to be present in some beta cells in more than 60% of patients with recent-onset type 1 diabetes but in very few age-matched controls. The rate of proliferation of islet cells was also markedly increased in the type 1 diabetic patients. As it has been suggested that enteroviruses replicate most efficiently in proliferating cells, we have investigated whether VP1 is preferentially present in proliferating beta cells in type 1 diabetes.


Combined immunoperoxidase and immunofluorescence staining was used to record the presence of enteroviral VP1, insulin and Ki67 in the islets of recent-onset type 1 diabetic patients.


From a total of 1,175 islets, 359 (30.5%) contained insulin. VP1-producing endocrine cells were found in 72 islets (6.1% of total), all of which retained insulin. Ki67(+) endocrine cells were present in 52 (4.4%) islets, with 44 (84.6%) of these being insulin-positive. Overall, 28 of 1,175 (2.4%) islets contained both Ki67(+) cells and VP1(+) cells. Dual positivity of these markers accounted for 38.9% of the total VP1(+) islets and 53.8% of the total Ki67(+) islets. No individual islet cells were dual-positive for Ki67 and VP1.


Ki67(+) cells were frequently observed in islets that also contained VP1(+) cells, suggesting that the factors facilitating viral replication may also drive islet cell proliferation. However, in an individual cell, VP1 production does not require concurrent beta cell proliferation.

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