Study reveals therapeutic targets to alter inflammation, type 2 diabetes

March 12, 2013, Boston University Medical Center

New research from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) reveals that B cells regulate obesity-associated inflammation and type 2 diabetes through two specific mechanisms. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, indicates the importance of continuing to explore B cells as a therapeutic target to treat these diseases. Barbara Nikolajczyk, PhD, associate professor of microbiology at BUSM, is the study's senior author.

The incidence of diabetes continues to rise at alarming rates. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the disease now affects approximately 25.8 million Americans. In 2007, the National Institutes of Health estimated that the direct and indirect costs of diabetes were a staggering $174 billion.

Type 2 diabetes, which is a common result of obesity, occurs when the body produces insulin but cannot use it properly (insulin resistance) or the body does not produce enough insulin. The body needs insulin to absorb glucose and generate energy. If the body does not produce and respond to insulin appropriately, it can, over time, lead to various complications such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, and blindness.

Previous research has shown that B cells, which are of the immune system, promote inflammation and can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, but the mechanisms underlying B cell function were unclear.

The results of this study shed light on that question and indicate that B cells secrete a pro-inflammatory ratio of proteins called cytokines, which directly promote the insulin resistance that characterizes type 2 diabetes. The researchers also demonstrated that B cells directly regulate inflammatory T cells, an immune cell type known to cause in animal models of disease.

"Now that we have identified the specific mechanisms by which promote inflammation, we can help develop novel, targeted approaches to treat type 2 diabetes," said Nikolajczyk. "Our study supports the continued exploration of FDA-approved B cell depletion drugs, which are known to be generally safe and effective, as novel agents to prevent obesity-associated inflammation and type 2 diabetes."

Explore further: Discovery may lead to new drugs to curb obesity, type 2 diabetes

Related Stories

Discovery may lead to new drugs to curb obesity, type 2 diabetes

October 11, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—An international study led by a researcher from The University of Western Australia for the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) has produced exciting results that may lead to new drugs ...

The role of beta cell regeneration in type 2 diabetes

October 10, 2012
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared type 2 diabetes as the epidemic of the 21st century. A study is focusing on understanding the mechanisms underlying insulin resistance and the role of beta-cell regeneration.

Recommended for you

Chronic inflammation causes loss of muscle mass during aging

January 12, 2018
People start losing muscle mass at the age of 40—about some 10 percent of the total muscle mass for each 10-year period, which may lead to fall-related injuries, slowing metabolism and reduced quality of life. Today, very ...

Breathing exercises help asthma patients with quality of life

December 13, 2017
A study led by the University of Southampton has found that people who continue to get problems from their asthma, despite receiving standard treatment, experience an improved quality of life when they are taught breathing ...

Study highlights the need for research into prevention of inflammatory bowel disease

December 7, 2017
Countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America have seen a rise in incidence of inflammatory bowel disease as they have become increasingly industrialised and westernised, a new study has found.

Air pollution can increase asthma risk in adults, even at low levels

November 24, 2017
Living close to a busy road can be bad for your respiratory health if you are middle aged, new Australian research has found.

Evidence found of oral bacteria contributing to bowel disorders

October 20, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests certain types of oral bacteria may cause or exacerbate bowel disorders. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes ...

New compound discovered in fight against inflammatory disease

September 22, 2017
A 10-year study by University of Manchester scientists for a new chemical compound that is able to block a key component in inflammatory illness has ended in success.

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.