In a new study, researchers found that “forgotten organs” such as the spleen in the body may hold big clues about the influence of type 2 diabetes on the immune system.
They discovered that organs traditionally neglected in diabetes research but extremely relevant for the immune functions were amongst the most affected ones.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Reading.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease where high levels of blood sugar systematically affect the whole body.
Previous research has focused on heart health because type 2 diabetes is linked to the increased risk to develop heart disease.
However, there has been no systematic research about which organs suffer the most as the consequence of type 2 diabetes.
In the study, the team systematically examined metabolic changes occurring in type 2 diabetes in organs, blood, and urine.
They showed that important organs such as the spleen, kidneys, and eyes show clues about the effects of raised blood sugar levels from type 2 diabetes at a metabolic level.
At a metabolic level, the spleen, for example, a forgotten organ in type 2 diabetes that is involved in immune regulation, can be much more affected by raised blood sugar levels than the heart.
The finding shows that the heart is not the only important organ harmed by high blood sugar. It is important to pay attention to the health outcome of other organs in the body.
The researchers suggest that future work needs to look at treatments for the impact of type 2 diabetes on those forgotten organs such as the spleen, kidneys, and eyes.
This study highlights the need to devote more attention to an integrative study of diabetes. The finding may help manage immune disorders linked to type 2 diabetes better.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Sandrine Claus from the University of Reading.
The study is published in Metabolomics.
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