05:52am Saturday 04 April 2020

Inflammation reconsidered

Increased low-grade inflammation in the body resulting from obesity is widely viewed as contributing to type 2 diabetes. Going against this long-held belief, researchers report that two proteins activated by inflammation are actually crucial for maintaining good blood sugar levels – and that boosting the activity of these proteins can normalize blood sugar in severely obese and diabetic mice.

Umut Ozcan, image courtesy of Children’s Hospital Boston

The research, led by Umut Ozcan, HMS assistant professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston, is reported in the October issue of Nature Medicine, published online

September 4.

“This finding is completely contrary to the general dogma in the diabetes field that low-grade inflammation in obesity causes insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes,” says Ozcan. “For 20 years, this inflammation has been seen as detrimental, whereas it is actually beneficial.”

Adapted from a Children’s Hospital Boston news release.

Children’s Hospital Boston is an affiliated teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

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