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Type 2 diabetes ‘partly reversible’ say researchers

Type 2 diabetes is partly reversible, according to researchers from the School of Medicine. They say that “B-cells appear in the inflammation of the visceral fat that precedes diabetes, and controlling them with drugs can actually prevent insulin resistance in mice on high-fat diets,” according to a recent article from The Stanford Daily and as reported by Diabetes Newshound.

Normally, B-cells instruct the body to release antibodies and cytokines to fight off disease. In people with Type 2 diabetes, specific B-cells identified in the study instruct the body to attack its own proteins, leading to insulin resistance.

Researchers conducted a study on mice in which mice given a drug designed to deplete the B-cells did not develop insulin resistance when fed a high fat diet. Meanwhile, those mice not given the drug did develop the disease.

While mice studies do not often produce translatable results when it comes to humans, the researchers also examined the antibodies in the blood of 32 obese men. Half of the men in the study were insulin resistant and half were not. All of the insulin resistant men showed similar antibody profiles as was found in the insulin resistant mice, suggesting the results of the mice study may be translatable after all.

While the researcher are hopeful that drugs to treat the disease, or even a vaccine, may one day be developed, they say such therapies are a long way off. And, immunosuppressant therapies are risky since the immune system is used to fight off infections and diseases. Hindering that system may open individuals up to other illnesses.

Published in Diabetes research
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