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Clin Diagn Virol. 1998 Apr;9(2-3):125-33.

Coxsackie B virus infection and beta cell autoantibodies in newly diagnosed IDDM adult patients.

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Laboratoire de Virologie, Institut Gernez Rieux, Bâtiment IRFPPS, Centre Hospitalier Régional et Universitaire, Lille, France.



Environmental agents such as viruses have been identified as potentially important determinants of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Enterovirus infections, Coxsackievirus B especially, could be linked to the beta cell damaging process and to the onset of clinical IDDM.


Enteroviral (EV) infection and beta cell autoimmunity were studied in adult patients at the onset of IDDM.


A total of 14 newly diagnosed-IDDM patients with ketosis or ketoacidosis were compared to, anteriorly diagnosed IDDM patients with metabolic decompensation, non-IDDM patients with metabolic decompensation and healthy adults. EV infection was studied by genomic RNA detection in whole blood using a RT-PCR assay. In order to assess the level of beta cell autoantibodies at the time of the initial metabolic decompensation, serum specimens from IDDM patients were tested for GAD65 antibodies and islet cell antibodies (ICAs).


Coxsackie B3 or B4 virus genome was detected and genotyped in five of 14 (35.7) newly diagnosed IDDM patients and in one of 12 (8%) patients in the course of IDDM. By contrast, none of the 12 non-IDDM patients and none of the 15 healthy adults was positive for enterovirus RNA detection in whole blood. Positive GAD65 antibodies and ICAs assays were not significantly correlated to a positive EV-RNA detection.


The present study demonstrates that Coxsackie B virus RNA sequences can be detected in the peripheral blood from adult patients at the onset or in the course of IDDM and suggests that a Coxsackie B virus infection could initiate or accelerate beta cell autoimmune damaging process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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