The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study is the largest prospective observational cohort study of newborns with increased genetic risk for Type 1 diabetes (T1D). The TEDDY study operates in U.S. (Colorado, Georgia/Florida and Washington State) and Europe (Finland, Germany and Sweden). TEDDY investigators, including Baylor, have concluded from the data that there is an association between prolonged (1 month or more) enterovirus infection and the development of autoimmunity to the insulin-producing pancreatic beta-cells that precedes T1D.
The TEDDY study follows children at high genetic risk for T1D from birth to 15 years of age at six (6) sites across the U.S. and Europe. Appearing this week in the journal Nature Medicine, investigators from Baylor College of Medicine, the University of South Florida, and other institutions have studied samples available in the study database. They have found that by studying the virome, that is, all the viruses in the body they began get an understanding of connections between viruses and the development of autoimmunity against insulin-producing beta cells.
Implicated in T1D before, the present study results offer a completely new way to make the connection, by identifying specific viruses shed in the stool. The investigators were surprised to find that it was a more prolonged infection of more than 30 days, rather than a short infection, that was associated with autoimmunity.
Well, it turns out that enterovirus infection, a common type of virus causing fever, sore throat infection and the like is associated with autoimmunity. Hence, those children that fall to infection for a month or longer will be at higher risk—a prolonged enterovirus infection might be an indicator that autoimmunity could develop.
Funded by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and JDRF.
Baylor’s “TEDDY” Investigators
Dr. Kendra Vehrik, Assistant Professor, COPH Phire, Professor, Health Informatics
Dr. Richard Lloyd, Professor of molecular virology and microbiology, member of the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center