Nav: Home

What drives inflammation in type 2 diabetes? Not glucose, says new research

August 21, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 21, 2019) -- To date, the underlying causes of inflammation in obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have been poorly understood, which has hampered efforts to develop treatments to prevent complications from a disease that is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

But new research at the University of Kentucky shows that changes to mitochondria--the powerhouse of cells--drive chronic inflammation from cells exposed to certain types of fats, shattering the prevailing assumption that glucose was the culprit.

Chronic inflammation fuels many of the devastating complications of type 2 diabetes, including cardiovascular, kidney, and periodontal diseases, and is thus one of the key targets for therapy development. This new data may enlighten the conversation about tight glycemic control as the dominant treatment goal for people with diabetes.

The research was recently published in Cell Metabolism by a team led by Barbara Nikolajczyk (UK Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences) and Douglas Lauffenberger (MIT Department of Biological Engineering).

Nikolajczyk and Lauffenberger didn't set out to disprove the glucose-inflammation causation theory. Based on the importance of glycolysis--a 10-reaction sequence that produces energy--in other types of inflammation, the team hypothesized that immune cells from patients with type 2 diabetes would produce energy by burning glucose. "We were wrong," Nikolajczyk said.

"We exclusively used immune cells from human subjects for all of the work, " Nikolajczyk explained, noting that humans, but not animal models of type 2 diabetes, have the specific pro-inflammatory T cell profile her team had identified in earlier research.

The team was surprised to find that glycolysis wasn't driving chronic inflammation. Instead, a combination of defects in mitochondria and elevated fat derivatives were responsible.

Nikolajczyk said she sees applications for this research in both basic and clinical sciences. She hopes to precisely define pro-inflammatory lipid types and explore associations between circulating and/or tissue-associated lipids and insulin resistance, one key feature of Type 2 diabetes. She is also interested in contributing to the development of new analytical approaches, spearheaded by Dr. Lauffenburger's team, that leverage ongoing lipid-related findings into a new understanding of pathology in type 2 diabetes.

"Aggressive blood glucose control to lower the risk of diabetic complications has been the goal for most people with Type 2 Diabetes for decades," Nikolajczyk said. "Our data provide an explanation for why people with tight glucose control can nonetheless have disease progression."
-end-


University of Kentucky

Related Science Articles:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.
Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.
Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.
World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.
PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.
More Science News and Science Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Sound And Silence
Sound surrounds us, from cacophony even to silence. But depending on how we hear, the world can be a different auditory experience for each of us. This hour, TED speakers explore the science of sound. Guests on the show include NPR All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly, neuroscientist Jim Hudspeth, writer Rebecca Knill, and sound designer Dallas Taylor.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Kittens Kick The Giggly Blue Robot All Summer
With the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there's been a lot of debate about how much power the Supreme Court should really have. We think of the Supreme Court justices as all-powerful beings, issuing momentous rulings from on high. But they haven't always been so, you know, supreme. On this episode, we go all the way back to the case that, in a lot of ways, started it all.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.