Researchers at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry are discovering why people with diabetes are at greater risk of developing recurrent infections and complications following seemingly mild infections.
The study, published in the online edition of Clinical Immunology, found 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,” says Dr. Bhagirath Singh, who led the study. “It indicates that strategies that reduce the incidence or severity of infections, such as vaccinations, are important to people with diabetes.” (Source: Clinical Immunology: University of Western Ontario: July 2006).