Epidemiological and genetic data have already indicated that viral infections and antiviral interferon (IFN) immune response genes are associated with the development of type 1 diabetes. “We found that in genetically predisposed children there was a transient upregulation of IFN immune response genes prior to the development of autoantibodies,” said Professor Anette-Gabriele Ziegler, director of the Institute of Diabetes Research at Helmholtz Zentrum München. “This was associated with a recent history of an upper respiratory tract infection.” “The association is an indication of possible disease mechanisms that may lead to the development of type 1 diabetes,” said Ziegler.
In the future, these findings could aid in developing a strategy for the prevention of type 1 diabetes. "One approach could be a vaccination against specific pathogens, another could be measures to suppress a specific immune response," said Ziegler.
Ferreira, R. et al. (2014). A type I interferon transcriptional signature precedes autoimmunity in children genetically at-risk of type 1 diabetes, Diabetes, doi: 10.2337/db13-1777
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