Metabolic Disease

Inflammation improves insulin resistance

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Science  04 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6265, pp. 1218-1219
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6265.1218-b

One of the hallmarks of diabetes is insulin resistance, a condition in which insulin accumulates because the body cannot effectively use it. Although insulin resistance occurs in both age- and obesity-associated diabetes, Bapat et al. now report that the underlying cellular mechanisms that drive these diseases differ. An overzealous inflammatory response contributes to obesity-associated insulin resistance. In contrast, an immunosuppressive subset of T cells, called regulatory T cells (Tregs), promoted insulin resistance in aging mice. Aged but not obese mice that lacked these cells experienced improvement in multiple metabolic parameters. Scientists will need to determine whether Tregs in adipose tissue contribute to age-associated insulin resistance in humans and how they may do so.

Nature 10.1038/nature16151 (2015).

Suppressor T cells in fat tissue promote metabolic disease in aging mice


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