New link identified between inflammation and depression in type-1 diabetes

June 6, 2018, Society for Endocrinology

Depression in type-1 diabetes patients is associated with higher levels of the inflammatory protein galectin-3, according to research published in Endocrine Connections. These findings suggest that galectin-3 levels may be useful for diagnosis of depression or may be a new target for treating depression associated with type-1 diabetes, which could lead to better patient care.

It is well established that people with both type-1 and type-2 have an increased risk of developing depression, a debilitating mental health disorder with potentially serious consequences, but the causes remain poorly understood. Galectin-3 is a key protein involved in promoting inflammatory immune system responses that are needed to repair tissue damage throughout the body, in response to injury or disease. However, elevated levels of galectin-3 have also been linked to an increased risk of inflammatory disorders including Alzheimer's disease and cardiovascular disease. Previous research has suggested that both depression and diabetes may be associated with increased levels of inflammation in the body but the role of galectin-3 has not been investigated in either condition.

In this study, Dr. Eva Olga Melin and colleagues at Lund University in Sweden measured the galectin-3 levels of 283 men and women, aged 18-59, with type-1 diabetes, for at least one year. Incidence of depression in these patients was self-reported and assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-Depression subscale and possible confounding influences of lifestyle factors including heart disease, smoking or poorly managed diabetes were accounted for in the analysis. The researchers found that both men and women with type-1 diabetes and depression also had significantly higher galectin-3 levels.

Dr. Melin comments, "We found that people with type-1 diabetes and depression had higher galectin-3 levels, yet no other diabetes-related metabolic changes could account for these elevated levels."

The team now plan to further investigate the link between type-1 diabetes, depression and galectin-3, as although these findings indicate that galectin-3 levels are associated with diabetes and depression, they are not sufficient to show any causative relationship. Larger, long-term studies are needed, as well as further analyses investigating how galectin-3 levels are linked to the increased risk of depression, what inflammatory processes are altered, and whether they can be targeted to treat .

Dr. Melin says, "Depression is a common disorder with very serious and debilitating consequences, so these findings suggest that further investigating the role of galectin-3 could lead to improved diagnosis and maybe better treatment outcomes for patients in the future."

Explore further: Mortality risk in T2DM increased with depression and/or anxiety

More information: Eva O Melin et al, Depression in type 1 diabetes was associated with high levels of circulating galectin-3, Endocrine Connections (2018). DOI: 10.1530/EC-18-0108

Related Stories

Mortality risk in T2DM increased with depression and/or anxiety

January 16, 2017
(HealthDay)—For individuals with type 2 diabetes, anxiety symptoms affect mortality risk, independently of depression symptoms, and attenuate the excess mortality associated with depression, according to a study published ...

Level of inflammation could help predict effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy for major depression

March 6, 2018
People with major depression that has not been well controlled by medications and who have a biomarker in their blood indicating a higher level of inflammation may benefit more than people with less inflammation from electroconvulsive ...

Depression linked to CKD in patients with diabetes

July 13, 2016
(HealthDay)—For patients with diabetes, the presence of depression is associated with increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a study published online June 16 in Diabetes Care.

New findings on 'key players' in brain inflammation

March 6, 2015
Inflammation is the immune system's natural reaction to an 'aggressor' in the body or an injury, but if the inflammatory response is too strong it becomes harmful. For example, inflammation in the brain occurs when a person ...

Study assesses bidirectional link for diabetes, depression

November 19, 2012
(HealthDay)—There is a bidirectional relationship between type 2 diabetes and depression, with a stronger correlation for depression predicting diabetes onset, according to research published online Nov. 12 in Diabetes ...

Cancer detection with sugar molecules

August 14, 2017
Galectins are a family of proteins that have become a promising source of cancer research in recent years. A representative thereof is galectin-1. It sits on the surface of all human cells; on tumor cells, however, it occurs ...

Recommended for you

Using mushrooms as a prebiotic may help improve glucose regulation

August 16, 2018
Eating white button mushrooms can create subtle shifts in the microbial community in the gut, which could improve the regulation of glucose in the liver, according to a team of researchers. They also suggest that better understanding ...

Cardiovascular disease related to type 2 diabetes can be reduced significantly

August 16, 2018
Properly composed treatment and refraining from cigarette consumption can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease resulting from type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the New England Journal of ...

Blood test may identify gestational diabetes risk in first trimester

August 16, 2018
A blood test conducted as early as the 10th week of pregnancy may help identify women at risk for gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related condition that poses potentially serious health risks for mothers and infants, according ...

Weight gain after smoking cessation linked to increased short-term diabetes risk

August 15, 2018
People who gain weight after they quit smoking may face a temporary increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with the risk directly proportional to the weight gain, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan ...

Evening preference, lack of sleep associated with higher BMI in people with prediabetes

August 15, 2018
People with prediabetes who go to bed later, eat meals later and are more active and alert later in the day—those who have an "evening preference"—have higher body mass indices compared with people with prediabetes who ...

Healthy fat cells uncouple obesity from diabetes

August 14, 2018
About 422 million people around the world, including more than 30 million Americans, have diabetes. Approximately ninety percent of them have type 2 diabetes. People with this condition cannot effectively use insulin, a hormone ...

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.