July 23, 2024

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Study finds herpes virus infection may increase risk of diabetes

Study finds herpes virus infection may increase risk of diabetes


Study finds herpes virus infection may increase risk of diabetes.

Two common herpes viruses may lead to impaired glucose metabolism in infected individuals and increased Risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D).

The research was carried out by Dr. Tim Woelfle and colleagues at Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in Germany and Helmholtz in Munich.


Study finds herpes virus infection may increase risk of diabetes



Herpes virus is one of the most common viruses in humans, and there are currently eight recognized types: herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and 2, varicella-zoster virus (VZV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), giant Cytovirus (CMV) and human herpesvirus (HHV) 6, 7 and 8.

All of these viruses cause lifelong latent infection in the host following an initial, usually mild or asymptomatic primary infection.


Type 2 diabetes is one of the most widespread and important metabolic diseases, with an estimated 9.3% of the world’s population living with it as of 2019, with a high mortality burden mainly due to the resulting cardiovascular disease.

There are many known behavioral, environmental and genetic risk factors for T2D, but until recently the virus was not thought to play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes, where the pancreas stops producing enough insulin.


Prediabetes can be diagnosed when a person exhibits impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).

Previous studies have found that the incidence of T2D in people with prediabetes (7.6% per person per year) is much higher than in those with normal glucose tolerance (0.6% per person per year).


The study is based on health data from 1967 subjects in the population health research platform of KORA (Cooperative Health Research in Augsburg Region) in southern Germany.

Participants underwent a detailed health examination at baseline (2006-2008) and at follow-up (2013-2014), which included testing for the presence of human herpesvirus, oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and measurement of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) ( measure the level of glycemic control over the past 3 months).


The median age of the study group at baseline was 54 years, 962 (49%) were male and 999 (51%) were female.

The incidence analysis of (pre)diabetes used data from 1257 participants with normal glucose tolerance at baseline (median age 49 years, 42% males and 58% females [528 and 729, respectively]).


Study finds herpes virus infection may increase risk of diabetes



Participants with no previous diagnosis of T2D received a standard OGTT and were assigned diabetes status using thresholds recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

The blood samples were further analyzed to detect antibodies to seven of the eight known human herpesviruses, which would indicate the presence of primary and latent infection.

The following variables known to be associated with diabetes risk were also assessed at baseline: gender, age, BMI, years of education , former smoking status (yes/no), leisure time physical activity (active/inactive), parental diabetes (yes/no) and hypertension (yes/no, defined as blood pressure above 140/90 mmHg).


The prevalence of prediabetes (IFG and IGT) was 27.5% at baseline and 36.2% at follow-up, while T2D was 8.5% of participants at baseline and 14.6% at follow-up.

Of the 1257 volunteers with normal glucose tolerance at baseline, 364 developed prediabetes and 17 developed T2D during a mean follow-up period of 6.5 years.

The authors found that age, BMI, smoking, and years of education were all associated with an individual’s risk of prediabetes and T2D.


Blood testing at the start of the study found that Epstein-Barr virus was the most prevalent herpes virus, 98% of the sample group was seropositive, followed by HSV1 (88%), HHV7 (85%), VZV (79%), CMV (46%) ), HHV6 (39%) and HSV2 (11%). Participants were seropositive for an average of 4.4 herpesviruses at baseline and 4.7 at follow-up.

About a third (34%) were positive for more virus at the end of the follow-up period, 54% had the same amount of virus and only 12% were positive for the virus than at the beginning.

Although herpes viruses persist in the host, they are not necessarily detectable by antibodies in the blood. Infections usually occur in early childhood but can also occur later in life, so while the observed seroconversions may be new cases, they are more likely due to immune responses to previously undetected viruses.

Likewise, people who lose seropositivity cannot be considered virus-free and are more likely to be in an undetectable latent state.


Among the seven herpesviruses examined, HSV2 and CMV were associated with the incidence of (pre)diabetes in people with normal glucose tolerance at baseline, independent of other risk factors.

People infected with HSV2 were 59% more likely to develop (pre)diabetes than those who were seronegative, while CMV infection was associated with a 33% increased incidence of (pre)diabetes.


Study finds herpes virus infection may increase risk of diabetes



The study found that HSV2 and CMV both consistently and complementarily contributed to the development of (pre)diabetes, even after accounting for gender, age, BMI, education, smoking, physical activity, parental diabetes, hypertension, lipid levels, insulin resistance, and fasting glucose. occur.

HSV2 was also found to be associated with HbA1c levels, independent of other confounding factors and the prevalence of (pre)diabetes itself.


The authors said: “Our study shows that although (pre-)diabetes incidence is largely explained by age, BMI, cholesterol and fasting blood glucose, both HSV2 and CMV increase the risk of additional supplementation, despite the high prevalence of the virus and common All the factors that happen at the same time.”


The mechanism by which these viruses may contribute to the development of (pre)diabetes remains to be discovered.

Both HSV2 and CMV cause chronic infections and may modulate the immune system by stimulating or suppressing the activity of the immune system, which in turn affects the functioning of the endocrine (hormonal) system.

Previous studies have identified a number of hitherto unknown causes of T2D other than those involved in the development of metabolic syndrome.


The author concluded. “These results underscore the link between the virus and (pre)diabetes, and the need for more research to evaluate public health virus prevention strategies, possibly including the development of effective vaccines against herpes virus.”






Study finds herpes virus infection may increase risk of diabetes

(source:internet, reference only)

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