Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is perceived as a chronic immune-mediated disease with a subclinical prodromal period characterized by selective loss of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreatic islets in genetically susceptible subjects. The incidence of T1D has increased manifold in most developed countries after World War II in parallel with a series of other immune-mediated diseases. T1D results from gene-environmental interactions. The appearance of disease-associated autoantibodies into the peripheral circulation is the first detectable sign of the initiation of the disease process leading to clinical T1D. The first autoantibodies may appear already before the age of 6 months and the seroconversion rate peaks during the second year of life. This implies that exogenous factors involved in the pathogenesis of T1D must be operative in early life, some of them most likely already during pregnancy. Here, we discuss putative endogenous factors that may contribute to the development of T1D during fetal and early postnatal life. Many environmental factors operative in early life have been implicated in the pathogenesis of T1D, but relatively few have been firmly confirmed.
Seminars in Immunopathology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 23, 2017
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