It's well established that as people's waistlines increase, so does the chance for the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Scientists from Denmark have found that in mice, macrophages, a specific type of immune cell, invade the diabetic pancreatic tissue during the early stages of the disease then these inflammatory cells produce a large amount of pro-inflammatory proteins - cytokines - which directly contribute to the elimination of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, resulting in diabetes. 


The scientists compared obese mice that spontaneously developed diabetes to healthy mice. The mice were followed from a young age when the obese mice only showed early diabetes, to an age where they displayed systemic complication in multiple organs.

Presence of macrophages around the beta cells in the pancreas and in the spleen was evaluated by state-of-the-art flow cytometric technology allowing evaluation on a single cell level.

At both the early and late stages, the diabetic mice showed significant modulations compared to healthy mice. 

"The study may provide novel insights allowing development of tailor-made anti-inflammatory based therapies reducing the burden of type 2 patients," said Alexander Rosendahl, Ph.D., co-author from the Department of Diabetes Complication Biology at Novo Nordisk A/S, in Malov, Denmark. "These novel treatments may prove to complement existing therapies such as insulin and GLP-1 analogues."


Published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.