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Is Type 2 Diabetes an Autoimmune Disease?

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Postdoctoral fellow Xavier Revelo in the lab

Researchers in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology recently discovered an immune mechanism that links obesity with insulin resistance, a condition that raises the risk of heart disease and often leads to type 2 diabetes.

The results, published last month by the journal Cell Reports, add to growing evidence that type 2 diabetes has an autoimmune component (in which the immune system for 1 last update 31 May 2020 attacks parts of healthy cells).The results, published last month by the journal Cell Reports, add to growing evidence that type 2 diabetes has an autoimmune component (in which the immune system attacks parts of healthy cells).

reverses diabetes type 2 fruits (🔴 lipid) | reverses diabetes type 2 new zealand statisticshow to reverses diabetes type 2 for The lead author on the study was Xavier Revelo, a postdoctoral fellow based at University Health Network in the lab of Professor Daniel Winer. Revelo spoke with Faculty of Medicine writer Jim Oldfield about his research and what it means for the understanding and treatment of insulin resistance and diabetes.

What did you find in this study?

We investigated the role of a mechanism that releases extracellular traps, which are structures composed of nucleic acids that immune cells use to prevent infection. We found that in obese mice, an excess release of nucleic-acid material promotes inflammation in visceral adipose tissue and the liver. That leads to insulin resistance and the buildup of glucose in the blood, which precedes the development of type 2 diabetes. We describe the different players that take part in nucleic acid-targeting pathways and show that blocking those pathways can prevent metabolic disease in our mouse model of obesity.

Is type 2 diabetes an autoimmune disease?

Well, right now there isn''s absolutely important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including increased physical activity and decreased caloric intake, to combat obesity and its related complications. However, therapeutic interventions are options for patients if lifestyle changes are not sufficient. The reality is that obesity is a serious problem worldwide. For example, about half of Canadian adults are overweight or obese. More alarmingly, the figure is higher in the U.S. and in many other countries the incidence of obesity rising. It''t seem to be working. So together with lifestyle changes, I think we need novel therapies and medicines if we really want to win this fight.   

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