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Diabetes Linked to Blood Vessel Inflammation

U.S. researchers say they’ve identified a new pathway that increases a dangerous inflammation of blood vessels in people with diabetes.

A team at the University of California, Davis, Health System believes that good control of diabetes may reduce this inflammation and possibly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

They found that people with type 1 diabetes have increased expression and signaling of two key receptors within the innate immune system. These receptors (TLR2 and TLR4) are part of a family of pattern-recognition receptors called Toll-like receptors (TLRs).

Increased expression of TLR2 and TLR4 in people with type 1 diabetes contributes to inflammation of blood vessels, the study authors said.

"It is not unreasonable to speculate that TLR2 and TLR4 promote (cardiovascular disease) by contributing to the pro-inflammatory state in type 1 diabetes," lead author Ishwarlal Jialal, director of the Laboratory for Atherosclerosis and Metabolic Research, and professor of internal medicine at UC Davis, said in a prepared statement.

"Inflammation is central to heart disease, playing a pivotal role in plaque formation and stroke. We may well find that a serendipitous byproduct of controlling diabetes is the simultaneous control of this new pathway, leading to less inflammation and lower risk of heart problems," Jialal said.

The researchers plan further studies to investigate the molecular mechanisms that cause increased TLR2 and TLR4 expression and how these receptors contribute to inflammation in people with diabetes.

Published in the online issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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DID YOU KNOW:

Exercise can prevent Alzheimer’s: Regular exercise can cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by a third while a lack of physical activity can lead to depression and dementia, according to scientists. A study by the University of Bristol, based on 17 trials, found that physical activity was associated with a 30-40 per cent reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Separate evidence presented to the British Nutrition Foundation conference linked a lack of exercise to depression and dementia. It is unclear why exercise has such a great effect but it could be associated with benefits to the vascular system as well as release of chemicals in the brain. Judy Buttriss, director general at the BNF, said that given people were living longer, the implications of such studies were “enormous”.

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