Could you please explain to me what a rotovirus is, and it's relationship to the onset of Type 1 diabetes? Thank you.
The rotoviruses are an important cause of gastroenteritis in infants and young children the world over. There has been a report in one case of an association with hyperglycemia. Further than that the rotoviruses have not been on the conventional list of viruses linked to the onset of clinical diabetes. Any infection, of course, can provide the stress that temporarily or permanently makes someone who is already immunologically diabetic, insulin dependent.
Your question however raises the whole issue of the role of viruses in providing the environmental stimulus that changes a genetic predisposition into actual Type 1 diabetes. Islet cell cultures can be damaged by a viral infection and mice made diabetic by agents such as the EMC virus. In man the links have come mainly from finding both antibodies and viral protein in the blood of new onset cases; but these findings have not shown uniform differences between diabetic and non-diabetic groups. Coxsackie B, mumps and rubella viruses have been the most frequently involved. An additional difficulty in interpreting this sort of data is that it is now known that the activation of the abnormal immunological process in a genetically susceptible person usually takes place months or years before the clinical onset.
Original posting 11 Sep 96
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