Date Published: 1 August 2006
Study Reveals Why People with Diabetes Get More Infections
Researchers at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario have gained important new insight into why people with diabetes are at greater risk of developing recurrent infections and complications following seemingly mild infections. The study is published in the July 21st on-line edition of Clinical Immunology.
Researchers led by Dr. Bhagirath Singh, found that those with diabetes have compromised immunity because their dendritic cells are poor producers of a potent anti-viral agent known as interferon-alpha (IFN-a). IFN-a is important in T-cell activation. Dendritic cells initiate and regulate T-cells in the body and T cells are central in controlling and fighting infections. The study involved people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, as well as normal control subjects.
" This study provides important new insight into how diabetes impacts the body's normal immune defenses and makes it more susceptible to infections," said Dr. Singh.
" It indicates that strategies that reduce the incidence or severity of infections, such as vaccinations, are important to people with diabetes."
Dr. Singh is the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Infection and Immunity and a Professor in Schulich Medicine's Department of Microbiology and Immunology, as well as a Scientist at the Robarts Research Institute. The study was coauthored with Drs. Kelly Summers and Annette Marleau and included collaborators Drs. Jeffrey Mahon, Ruth McManus and Irene Hramiak from the St. Joseph's Health Care and the London Health Sciences Center, London, Ontario. Dr. Singh can be reached for interviews at 519-661-3228.
This study was funded by the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and CIHR.
Source: University of Western Ontario (Canada)