Evidence that Diabetes Type 2 Is Autoimmune Illness; New Therapy Directions Seen

Researchers in Canada and the United States have uncovered a link between type 2 diabetes and problems with the body’s immune system, a breakthrough that it is hoped could lead to new immune system therapies for type 2 diabetes .

• It has long been known that people suffering from type 1 diabetes have malfunctions in their immune system which destroy the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas

• But the type 2 version of the condition has not previously been seen as an autoimmune disorder .

Now, however, the new study by scientists at the University of Toronto and Stanford University, published online Apr 17 by Nature Medicine,(1) has shown that immune system abnormalities could be involved in type 2 diabetes.

Two Strong Clues

In laboratory experiments, it was revealed that a mouse could develop type 2 diabetes due to a manipulation of its immune system.

It was also shown that blood samples from type 2 diabetes patients contained antibodies against some of their own proteins, which was explained as being due to their immune systems turning on them.

“This data is highly suggestive that there is an autoimmune component in type 2 diabetes,” says Daniel A Winer, a lead author of the study.

1. “B cells promote insulin resistance through modulation of T cells and production of pathogenic IgG antibodies” Nature Medicine, online Apr 17, 2011

Source: Diabetes.co.uk news release May 6, 2011

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