Virus infections can influence the onset of type I diabetes

Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana

Elhuyar Zientzia

Ed. Archive

UPV researchers have found an interaction between viral infections and a non-coding gene that threatens to develop type I diabetes. In fact, this gene influences insulin-producing cells and has shown that a viral infection can activate processes that can lead to cell destruction.

Of the total diabetes, 10-15% are type I. It appears in childhood or youth and is an autoimmune, inflammatory and polygenic disease. Researchers knew that people who develop the disease have a certain genetics and that other factors can intervene in the production of the disease. Among them, the influence of viruses has been analyzed.

In fact, many research has found remnants of viruses in the pancreas beta cells of people who have developed diabetes (insulin producers), but not in non-diabetic people. From there, the interaction between virus infection and genes has been studied. Specifically, UPV/EHU researchers Izortze Santín Gómez and Ainara Castellanos-Rubio have studied the influence of a polymorphism on the non-coding gene Lnc13 related to type I diabetes. They communicate the results in the PNAS magazine.

According to the researchers, they have drawn three important conclusions. On the one hand, polymorphisms in the non-coding area of the genome may be related to the development of certain diseases. On the other hand, to prevent type I diabetes, it may be helpful to check the Lnc13 genotype and look for signs of viral infections. Finally, all this opens the door to the possibility of gene therapy.

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