Herpes virus and increased incidence of type 2 diabetes

The herpes virus family consists of about a hundred viruses, including 8 human viruses. This study conducted at Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich) revealed that two of these viruses can contribute to impaired glucose metabolism and increase the risk of diabetes in affected people.

Herpes viruses are the most common viruses in humans, with 8 currently known types: herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and 2, varicella-zoster virus (VZV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), human herpesvirus (HHV) 6, 7 and 8. They all cause a latent, lifelong infection in their host after an initial infection that is usually mild or asymptomatic.

Diabetes is also a metabolic disease that is highly prevalent in the general population. It is estimated that 9.3% of the world’s population has diabetes. Diabetes factors are multiple, behavioural, environmental and genetic and until recently, viruses have not often been suggested as being able to play a role in the etiology of diabetes.

HSV2 and CMV found to be associated with the occurrence of (before) diabetes

the study It took into account the health data of 1967 people with an average age of 54 years, participating in the KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Augsburg Region) group who underwent detailed health examinations initially (2006-2008) and during follow-up (2013-2014), including tests Human herpes virus infection, glucose tolerance tests, measurement of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). The researchers took into account potential confounding factors, including gender, age, body mass index, education level, smoking, physical activity, family history of diabetes and high blood pressure. The analysis concludes:

  • Prediabetes prevalence of 27.5% at baseline and 36.2% at follow-up;
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus in 8.5% of participants at baseline and 14.6% at follow-up;
  • Of the 1,257 participants with a normal glucose tolerance at baseline, 364 developed diabetes and 17 had type 2 diabetes during the 6.5-year follow-up period;
  • Age, BMI, smoking and education level were confirmed as factors associated with the risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes;
  • Blood tests performed at the start of the study revealed that EBV was the most common herpes virus in 98% of the participants, followed by HSV1 (88%), HHV7 (85%), VZV (79%), CMV (46%), and HHV6 (39). %) and HSV2 (11%);
  • On average, participants were seropositive for an average of 4.4 HSV at baseline and 4.7 during follow-up;
  • 34% of participants tested positive for more herpes viruses at the end of follow-up;
  • Among the seven herpes viruses examined, HSV-2 and CMV were found to be associated with the incidence of (pre) diabetes in participants with normal glucose tolerance at baseline, regardless of other risk factors;
  • Participants with HSV2 had a 59% increased risk of developing (pre) diabetes versus HIV-negative participants;
  • CMV-positive participants had a 33% increased risk of developing (pre) diabetes versus HIV-negative participants;

HSV2 and CMV viruses appear “Contribute in a coherent and integrated way to the development of (pre) diabetes,”

Write researchers.

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

In summarizing, While (pre) diabetes is mainly explained by major risk factors, including age, BMI, cholesterol and fasting blood glucose, HSV type 2 and CMV also contribute to the level of risk.

What are the mechanisms? “These mechanisms remain to be discovered. Herpes simplex virus II and CMV cause chronic infections that can modulate the immune system by stimulating or suppressing its activity, which may affect the function of the endocrine system (hormones)”Researchers suggest here.

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