Rotavirus modulation of type 1 diabetes development
Associate Professor Barbara Coulson
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Rotavirus infection and type I diabetes are both major diseases worldwide. Currently, at least 171 million people are affected by type 1 diabetes, with the incidence of disease rising by 3% annually. This increase in incidence cannot be explained by genetic predisposition alone, so focus has recently turned to environment factors including viral infection. A link between rotavirus infection and rises in pancreatic islet auto-antibodies in Australian children at risk of developing diabetes has been observed. This suggests that rotavirus infection may play a role in determining the timing of diabetes onset in children.
We have established two mouse models where rotavirus infection modulates the age of diabetes onset. Rotavirus infection delays diabetes onset in mice infected as infants and accelerates diabetes when mice are infected as adults. These models are currently being utilised to study host and viral factors involved in modulation of T1D.
Understanding how rotavirus infection modulates diabetes onset may provide therapeutic targets to prevent or delay diabetes onset.
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