In children, prenatal viral infection may cause diabetes, reveals new research.
According to the research at Tel Aviv University, conducted in collaboration with an international team of researchers, women who contract a viral infection during pregnancy transmit viruses to their genetically susceptible fetuses, sparking the development of type 1 diabetes.
Researcher Zvi Laron said that they knew that type 1 diabetes was associated with other autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto Thyroiditis, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis, so they investigated the seasonality of birth months for these respective diseases in Israel and other countries and found that the seasonality of the birth of children who went on to develop these diseases did indeed differ from that of the general public.
In addition, the cord blood antibody concentrations that exceeded those of the corresponding maternal sample, or antibody-positive cord blood samples with antibody-negative maternal samples, implied an in utero immune response by the fetus.
Laron added that if hypothesis can be verified, then preventive vaccine before conception would be useful in stopping the increasing incidence of type1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases.
Laron continued that there is no cure for this diabetes, so true intervention would be important not only medically but also psychologically and financially, as the costs of the lifelong treatment of this chronic disease and other autoimmune diseases are great.
The study is published in Diabetic Medicine.