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Healthy Fat Reverses Diabetes

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Researchers have been able to “reverse” type 2 diabetes by dampening the inflammatory response in fat tissue. A study published in Nature Immunology by Dr Ajith Vasanthakumar and Dr Axel Kallies of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute found that regulatory T cells (Tregs) play a key role in controlling inflammation in fat tissue and maintaining insulin sensitivity.

People with type 2 diabetes have reduced sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that normally triggers glucose uptake by cells, and their cells no longer respond to insulin appropriately. This decrease in insulin sensitivity is thought to be a result of long-term, low-level inflammation of fat tissue in people who are obese.

Vasanthakumar said that Tregs prevent the immune response from getting out-of-hand and attacking the body’s own tissues. “When Treg numbers are reduced, inflammatory diseases such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can occur,” he explained.

Fat tissue has a unique type of Treg that disappears during obesity. “The fat tissue of obese people has lower numbers of Tregs than the fat tissue of people in a healthy weight range,” Vasanthakumar said. “Without Tregs, inflammation-causing cell levels increase, and this rise in inflammation can lead to insulin resistance and high blood glucose levels – a classic hallmark of type 2 diabetes.”

The researchers discovered that a...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.