People with diabetes have long been known to be at a higher risk of developing severe lung infections when infected with viruses or bacteria. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this risk was even more evident.
Research from the Weizmann Institute of Science has revealed that high blood sugar levels in diabetics disrupt the function of critical immune cells in the lungs, making them more susceptible to severe lung infections.
The study found that high blood sugar levels in diabetic mice disrupted the function of lung dendritic cells, which are responsible for initiating an immune response against infections.
This disruption prevented these cells from activating the immune response to combat lung infections effectively.
As a result, conditions in diabetic mice were uncontrolled and led to lung damage and death.
The researchers also discovered that tight control of blood sugar levels through insulin supplementation or the use of small molecules that reverse sugar-induced gene regulatory impairment could restore the function of lung dendritic cells.
This suggests that controlling blood sugar levels or using specific drugs to reverse gene alterations caused by high sugar levels could reduce the susceptibility of diabetics to severe lung infections.
With over 500 million people worldwide affected by diabetes, and diabetes incidence expected to rise in the coming decades, this research has significant clinical implications.
It provides a potential explanation for the increased susceptibility of diabetics to respiratory infections and suggests that managing blood sugar levels or using targeted drugs could mitigate this risk. Future clinical testing is needed to explore these possibilities further.
This study sheds light on why people with diabetes are more vulnerable to severe lung infections and offers a potential strategy to reduce this susceptibility.
It emphasizes the importance of controlling blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, especially during viral outbreaks and respiratory infections.
If you care about lung health, please read studies about New diabetes drugs can benefit your kidney and lung health and findings of Many smokers have unrecognized lung problems.
For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about bone drug that could lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and results showing eating more eggs linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
The research findings can be found in Nature.
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