The microbiology of human hygiene and its impact on type 1 diabetes

Nora M. Chapman, Ken Coppieters, Matthias Von Herrath, Steven Tracy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Scopus citations


The incidence of type 1 diabetes (T1D), as with several other autoimmune diseases and conditions, began to notably rise in the latter half of the last century. Most cases of T1D are not solely attributable to genetics and therefore, environmental influences are proposed to account for the difference. Humans live today in general under much more hygienic conditions than their ancestors. Although human enteroviruses (HEV) have been strongly implicated as causative environmental agents of T1D, recent work has shown that the bacterial genera in the gut of diabetics compared with non-diabetics, can vary significantly. Here, we consider these data in light of our non-hygienic human past in order to discuss a possible relationship between the resident bacterial biome and acute infectious events by HEV, suggesting how this may have influenced T1D incidences in the past and the risk for developing T1D today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-261
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012



  • Autoimmunity
  • Bacteria
  • Enterovirus
  • Environment
  • Hygiene
  • Microbiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

Cite this

Chapman, N. M., Coppieters, K., Von Herrath, M., & Tracy, S. (2012). The microbiology of human hygiene and its impact on type 1 diabetes. Islets, 4(4), 253-261.