Rotavirus infection of infant and young adult nonobese diabetic mice involves extraintestinal spread and delays diabetes onset

Kate L. Graham, Joanne A. O'Donnell, Yan Tan, Natalie Sanders, Emma M. Carrington, Janette Allison, Barbara S. Coulson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Rotaviruses have been implicated as a possible viral trigger for exacerbations in islet autoimmunity, suggesting they might modulate type 1 diabetes development. In this study, the ability of rotavirus strain RRV to infect the pancreas and affect insulitis and diabetes was examined in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, an experimental model of type 1 diabetes. Mice were inoculated either orally or intraperitoneally as infants or young adults. In infant mice inoculated orally, rotavirus antigen was detected in pancreatic macrophages outside islets and infectious virus was found in blood cells, pancreas, spleen, and liver. Extraintestinal RRV spread and pancreatic presence of infectious virus also occurred in intraperitoneally inoculated infant and adult mice. The initiation of insulitis was unaltered by infection. The onset of diabetes was delayed in infant mice inoculated orally and infant and adult mice inoculated intraperitoneally. In contrast, adult mice inoculated orally showed no evidence of pancreatic RRV, the lowest rate of detectable RRV replication, and no diabetes modulation. Thus, the ability of RRV infection to modulate diabetes development in infant and young adult NOD mice was related to the overall extent of detectable virus replication and the presence of infectious virus extraintestinally, including in the pancreas. These studies show that RRV infection of infant and young adult NOD mice provides significant protection against diabetes. As these findings do not support the hypothesis that rotavirus triggers autoimmunity related to type 1 diabetes, further research is needed to resolve this issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6446-6458
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes

Cite this