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J Autoimmun. 2019 Dec 6:102378. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2019.102378. [Epub ahead of print]

Human herpesvirus-6 is present at higher levels in the pancreatic tissues of donors with type 1 diabetes.

Author information

1
Type 1 Diabetes Center, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA.
2
Core Microscopy, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA.
3
Type 1 Diabetes Center, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA; Helmholtz Zentrum München, Helmholtz Diabetes Center, Institute of Diabetes Research Heidemannstrasse, 1, 80939, München, Germany.
4
Type 1 Diabetes Center, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA. Electronic address: matthias@lji.org.

Abstract

Human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) is a ubiquitous pathogen associated with nervous and endocrine autoimmune disorders. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of HHV-6 in pancreatic tissue sections from non-diabetic, auto-antibody positive (AAB+), and donors with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and explore whether there is any association between HHV-6 and MHC class I hyperexpression and CD8 T cell infiltration. HHV-6 DNA was detected by PCR and its protein was examined by indirect immunofluorescence assay followed by imaging using high-resolution confocal microscopy. Viral DNA (U67) was found in most pancreata of non-diabetic (3 out of 4), AAB+ (3 out of 5) and T1D donors (6 out of 7). Interestingly, HHV-6 glycoprotein B (gB) was more expressed in islets and exocrine pancreas of donors with T1D. However, gB expression was not directly associated with other pathologies. Out of 20 islets with high gB expression, only 3 islets (15%) showed MHC class I hyperexpression. Furthermore, no correlation was found between gB expression and CD8 T cell infiltration on a per-islet basis in any of the groups. Our observations indicate that HHV-6 DNA and protein are present in the pancreas of non-diabetic subjects but gB expression is higher in the pancreas of donors with T1D. The possible role of HHV-6 as a contributory factor for T1D should therefore be further investigated.

KEYWORDS:

Environmental factors; Human herpesvirus-6; Type 1 diabetes

PMID:
31818546
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaut.2019.102378
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