US researchers have discovered that people with type 1 diabetes have unique inflammation patterns, which could help lead to treatments aimed at preventing complications.
Long-term high blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes appears to result in chronic inflammation, researchers say, which can impair organs, nerves and blood vessels.
Scientists from Augusta University and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Genomic Medicine set about examining markers of inflammation in 89 people with diabetes-related kidney disease as well as 483 people with type 1 diabetes but without kidney problems.
Ten mediators of inflammation were elevated in those with kidney damage, with proteins of two pathways, TNF-alpha and IL-6, significantly elevated in 40% of this group. Another 40% of patients had moderately elevated levels.
The researchers believe blood levels of these inflammatory mediators could provide biomarkers for predicting who with type 1 diabetes will develop kidney-related damage.
“We all think that prevention of inflammation will help prevent or delay diabetic kidney disease and probably other consequences of type 1 diabetes,” said study author Dr Jin-Xiong She.
“But not all inflammation is the same and not all patients have the same inflammation, even patients with the same condition like type 1 diabetes.
“From a prevention or therapeutic point of view, you really have to know what are the primary inflammatory mediators that are increased in a given patient so you can target those. That is really predictive, preventive personalized medicine and that is exactly what we are trying to enable.”
The study group is now conducting a larger analysis of these mediators and has begun to explore whether they too are elevated in people with type 2 diabetes.
The study results appear online in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

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