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More MS news articles for January 2003

Enterovirus Infections May Initiate the Autoimmune Process

Jan 06, 2003
Reuters Health

Mounting evidence points to an association between enterovirus infection and induction of beta-cell autoimmunity.

In the latest report, researchers used data from the Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention (DIPP) study to compare the frequency of enterovirus infection in 41 children observed from birth who became positive for diabetes-associated autoantibodies with that of 196 closely matched control children who remained autoantibody-negative.

Dr. Kimmo Salminen from the University of Turku and colleagues used serology and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction to detect enterovirus infections in serum samples obtained every 3 to 6 months beginning at birth.

According to a report in the January issue of the Journal of Medical Virology, they detected enterovirus infections more often in case children than in control children (p = 0.004). Average enterovirus antibody levels were also higher in cases than in controls (p = 0.003).

Of note, there was a "clear clustering" of enterovirus infections just prior to the detection of autoantibodies," the team reports. Fifty-one percent of case children had an enterovirus infection in the 6 months preceding the first detection of autoantibodies compared with 28% of control children.

This finding, the authors say, supports a causal relationship between enterovirus infection and initiation of beta-cell autoimmunity.

J Med Virol 2003;69:91-98.

Reuters Health Information 2003.

© 2003 Reuters Ltd