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From Texas, USA:

Someone asked me about the association of stress and the onset of diabetes. In my search for the answer, I came across your answer to a question about it in October of 1996! What would be the effect on T-cell activity and formation during stressful times? If diabetes is viral, what effect would that have on fighting the viral infection?


When T cells are activated by an antigen presenting cell they develop what are called costimulator molecules on their surfaces. One of the latest attempts to find a way of preventing transplant rejection has been to develop antibodies to these molecules. In answer to your question, though, molecules like cortisol which are the product of stress will bond to them and lead to the death of the cell.

The virus question is reviewed in Cell.90:303,1997. Briefly, a group in Geneva claim to have found evidence of a retroviral superantigen in two patients with recent onset Type 1 Diabetes. They propose that the superantigen becomes attached to an antigen presenting cell which in turn induces beta cell destruction via the activation of autoreactive T cells.


Original posting 16 Mar 1998
Posted to Stress


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