A new study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology titled “γδ T cells may play a role in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes“ suggests that a quite unusual sort of immune cells, the γδ T-cells, may be a good research and drug target for treating and preventing type 2 diabetes that results from obesity. The study shows that γδ T cells play a major role the accumulation of macrophages caused by obesity, and this causes inflammation in fat tissue. This inflammation is induced by obesity, and is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance; however, its underlying causes are not clear.
Pooja Mehta, a researcher from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas explained in a press release: “Results showed that γδ T cells contribute to systemic insulin resistance in obese mice, which opens up new avenues for studies in obese humans. This study also provides new information about the complex interplay of immune cells, in the fat tissue, during obesity.”
To conclude this, researchers used two groups of mice. The first had the altered gene that caused a deficiency in the γδ T cells; the second mice’s group was normal. Both groups were fed with a diet rich in saturated fats and sugar, thereby inducing obesity via a Western-type diet; the outcomes show that normal mice evidenced signs of low-grade inflammation in the adipose tissues, skeletal muscle and liver. Those mice lacking the γδ T cells displayed reduced inflammatory responses in these organs. The obese mice with γδ T cells deficiency had lower systemic insulin resistance when compared to normal mice.
“Obesity is one of the large public health and growing medical problems in developed countries. The more we learn about obesity, the more we realize that an intimate connection exists between adipose tissue, inflammation and the immune system. These new studies identify a new potentially critical piece of the immune puzzle in the control of the damaging inflammation associated with obesity,” said John Wherry in a press release.
More than a third of today’s American adults are obese, and the impact on annual medical costs represent an enormous burden.