nPOD. Current nPOD Projects

Diabetes Virus Detection Study (DiViD)

The Diabetes Virus Detection Study (DiViD) is the first to examine fresh pancreatic tissue at the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (T1D) for the presence of viruses. Surgical minimal pancreatic tail resection was performed in general anesthesia 3-9 weeks after onset of type 1 diabetes in six adult patients (age 24-35 years). Pancreatic tissues were snap-frozen within three minutes after dissection, live tissues collected for functional studies, and tissues fixated with formalin and glutaraldehyde and stored. Duodenal biopsies were collected by gastroscopy. Serum, PBMCs and serum/plasma were also collected. All patients had HLA-risk for T1D and at least one positive autoantibody. All six cases fulfilled the criteria for insulitis (5-58% of the insulin-containing islets in the six patients were affected by ≥15 T cells). We demonstrated a low-grade, persistent enterovirus infection in the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. Both viral genome and viral capsid protein was detected and confirmed in different laboratories. We also observed a reserve reservoir of betacells in the islets that improved insulin secretion in a non-diabetogenic environment in vitro. This reservoir may restore the need for insulin if the disease process could be halted at the time of diagnosis. Recent gene expression studies of laser-captured pancreatic islets from the same DiViD patients show significant enrichment of gene ontologies for viral and reproduction/infectious cycle, and also significant mitochondrial dysfunction and increased cellular endoplasmatic reticulum (ER) stress. Pancreas samples from the nPOD program, recovered from organ donors, will be used as a control group together with the data generated from the biopsy of the patients from the DiViD study.

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