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Diabetologia. 2012 Sep;55(9):2479-88. doi: 10.1007/s00125-012-2591-4. Epub 2012 Jun 10.

No evidence of enteroviruses in the intestine of patients with type 1 diabetes.

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Diabetes Research Institute, HSR-DRI, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Via Olgettina 60, 20132 Milan, Italy.



The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the gut mucosa is a reservoir for enterovirus persistence in patients with type 1 diabetes.


Small intestine biopsy samples from 25 individuals at different stages of type 1 diabetes, 21 control individuals and 27 individuals with coeliac disease were analysed for the presence of enterovirus RNA by using both radioactive in-situ hybridisation and real-time RT-PCR and for the presence of enterovirus proteins by immunostaining with antibodies against VP1 and VP4-2-3 capsid proteins and virus polymerase. Lymphocytic enteropathy and serum anti-VP1 antibodies were also evaluated at the time of biopsy. Moreover, high-throughput sequencing was performed to identify viral transcripts or genomes.


Enterovirus was not detected by in-situ hybridisation or RT-PCR in any of the individuals tested. Immunohistology revealed a few stained cells in the intestinal epithelium in a low number of individuals, with no difference between diabetic and non-diabetic individuals. Levels of serum IgG against VP1 did not differ between control individuals and those with diabetes or coeliac disease and no evidence of diabetes-related lymphocytic enteropathy was detected. High-throughput sequencing did not reveal specific enterovirus sequences in the gut mucosa of individuals with type 1 diabetes.


Prolonged/persistent enterovirus infections in gut mucosa are not common in patients with type 1 diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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