More evidence suggests type 2 diabetes is an inflammatory disease

January 2, 2014

As people's waistlines increase, so does the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Now scientists have a better understanding of exactly what happens in the body that leads up to type 2 diabetes, and what likely causes some of the complications related to the disease. Specifically, scientists from Denmark have found that in mice, macrophages, a specific type of immune cell, invade the diabetic pancreatic tissue during the early stages of the disease. Then, these inflammatory cells produce a large amount of pro-inflammatory proteins, called cytokines, which directly contribute to the elimination of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, resulting in diabetes. This discovery was published in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

"The study may provide novel insights allowing development of tailor-made anti-inflammatory based therapies reducing the burden of type 2 patients," said Alexander Rosendahl, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Diabetes Complication Biology at Novo Nordisk A/S, in Malov, Denmark. "These novel treatments may prove to complement existing therapies such as insulin and GLP-1 analogues."

To make their discovery scientists compared that spontaneously developed diabetes to healthy mice. The mice were followed from a young age when the obese mice only showed early diabetes, to an age where they displayed systemic complication in multiple organs. Presence of macrophages around the in the pancreas and in the spleen was evaluated by state-of-the-art flow cytometric technology allowing evaluation on a single cell level. At both the early and late stages, the showed significant modulations compared to healthy mice.

"The more researchers learn about obesity and , the more it appears that inflammation plays a critical role in the progression and severity of these conditions," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "This study sheds light on how a key inflammatory cell is connected to disease and what might go wrong when someone has type 2 . The knowledge gained from such studies offers hope that new immune-based therapies could be developed to mitigate the severity of such dieseases."

Explore further: Early research shows dietary supplement may lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes

More information: J. Leukoc. Biol. January 2014 95:149-160; DOI: 10.1189/jlb.0213075

Related Stories

Researchers prevent mice from developing diabetes

June 29, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Swedish research group headed at Karolinska Institutet has been able to prevent onset of Type 1 diabetes in mice that are genetically susceptible to the disease. Through injection of specifically prepared ...

Endocannabinoids trigger inflammation that leads to diabetes

August 20, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have clarified in rodent and test tube experiments the role that inflammation plays in type 2 diabetes, and revealed a possible molecular target for treating ...

Recommended for you

New 'Tissue Velcro' could help repair damaged hearts

August 28, 2015

Engineers at the University of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together ...

Fertilization discovery: Do sperm wield tiny harpoons?

August 26, 2015

Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That's the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine's discovery that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, ...

Research identifies protein that regulates body clock

August 26, 2015

New research into circadian rhythms by researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga shows that the GRK2 protein plays a major role in regulating the body's internal clock and points the way to remedies for jet lag ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.