The role of enteroviruses, in particular type B coxsackieviruses (CV-B), in type 1 diabetes (T1D) pathogenesis is supported by epidemiological, clinical and experimental observations.
The investigation of T1D pathogenesis benefits from the contribution of animal models called spontaneously diabetic. Among these animals the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse and the bio-breeding diabetes-prone (BBDP) rat present a genetic susceptibility manifested by the expression of an autoimmune diabetes similar to the pathology observed in human beings. Other models whose genetic predisposition is less known are of considerable contribution as well. Numerous major observations relative to several aspects of T1D pathogenesis in the context of CV-B infections, such as susceptibility, diabetogenicity, pancreatotropism, mechanisms of β cells destruction and others, have been deduced thanks to investigations with animal models.
Despite their limits, these models are necessary in improving our knowledge of the role of enteroviruses, like CV-B4, in the pathogenesis of T1D, and the recent advances ensuing from their contribution may have important therapeutic and preventive spin-offs. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.