The Third Type of Diabetes


For years, it was accepted thought that there are two types of diabetes mellitus.  Type I diabetes is often known as juvenile diabetes where the body does not produce insulin.  Type II diabetes is a condition characterized by high levels of glucose in the body caused by a lack of insulin or more likely the body’s inability to no longer use insulin efficiently.

Research continues in diabetes where researchers are developing new therapies and discovering new findings and understanding of the disease.  Elderly individuals were acquiring a new type of diabetes without a known cause.  It is a new type of diabetes, and this has gone undiagnosed for a lengthy period.

T regulatory cells

A disproportionate amount of T regulatory cells,  which are particular cells in the body’s immune system, was found to cause diabetes in elderly individuals.  Scientists at the Salk Research Institute had various mouse models; those that were healthy or the control, obese mice with diabetes, and mice that had age-related diabetes.

The good news is that these researchers are also on to a possible cure.  Preventing the accumulation of T cells by blocking them is key.  Blocking the T cells prevented the development of diabetes in the mice as they aged.

The work is now being expanded to see if this same procedure will benefit humans and prevent diabetes in humans as we age.