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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 11 (2004), Issue 3-4, Pages 191-194

On the Mechanisms of the Protective Effect of Infections on Type 1 Diabetes

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The incidence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) shows a worrying tendency for a steady increase in Western countries. Along the line of the hygiene hypothesis, evidence accumulates to suggest that this increase is explained by the decrease of infections due to improved hygiene and medical care. This article presents a review of epidemiological data and of the main putative underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms.