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Bacteria can trigger type I diabetes

23 May 2016, 09:00

The Cardiff University experts found that one of the causes of type I diabetes may be bacteria, which are "forced" to work against the body's immune and destroy cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. In earlier studies, scientists have found that a certain type of white blood cells (NKT-lymphocytes) destroys insulin-producing cells, wherein such cells protect the body from various intracellular infections and tumors.

A new study was intended to determine the causes of this behavior of cells, for which the body of a volunteer patient type I diabetes, extracted NKT-cells and analyzed them.

According to Dr. David Cole, the receptors on the surface of lymphocytes check the environment and provide signals for further action. During the study of lymphocyte, scientists have found that sometimes they are exposed to pathogenic bacteria, which change their behavior and "force" to attack the beta cells, thereby triggering the development of type I diabetes.

Lead author of the research project said that NKT-cells effectively protect our body from various infections, however, when these cells start to "work" against the body, there may be very serious consequences.

The results of their study, the researchers published in one of the scientific publications, according to most of the research team, this is the first study that demonstrates that the bacteria can affect the cells and change their behavior, but beyond that, the discovery gives an impetus to study the mechanism of action of other autoimmune diseases. Professor Cole said that scientists have to do a lot of work before you manage to find out the true causes of diabetes type I, is known today that the development of the disease can affect the environmental and hereditary factors, but recent studies has added to the list of external factors.

Type I diabetes develops mainly in children and adolescents, and in most cases the disease is associated with a certain power. The causes of this type of diabetes have been little studied to date, moreover, there is no specific treatment that would help deal with the severe symptoms of the disease for a long time. But researchers hope the new study will help to better understand the mechanism of development of this type of diabetes and to develop an effective method of treatment.

Diabetes leads to serious consequences, according to some estimates, millions of people around the world suffer from this disease. However, scientists predict increase in diabetes incidence by 2025, at least twice. Presumably, in the world every 10 seconds diagnosed diabetes in 2 new patients, which is about 7 million cases per year, about half of the cases detected in age from 40 to 60 years, more than half of the patients live in developing countries.

The most difficult situation is in the Middle East, Australia, in the countries of the Caribbean Sea, where 20% of the patients children (12 years old).

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