Researchers at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
at The University of Western Ontario have gained important new insight
into why people with diabetes are at greater risk of developing recurrent
infections and complications following seemingly mild infections.
The study is published in the July 21st on-line edition of Clinical
Researchers led by Dr. Bhagirath Singh, found that 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," said Dr. Singh.
" It indicates that
strategies that reduce the incidence or severity of infections,
such as vaccinations,
are important to people with diabetes."
Dr. Singh is the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes
of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Infection and Immunity and
a Professor in Schulich Medicine's Department of Microbiology and
Immunology, as well as a Scientist at the Robarts Research Institute.
The study was coauthored with Drs. Kelly Summers and Annette Marleau
and included collaborators Drs. Jeffrey Mahon, Ruth McManus and Irene
Hramiak from the St. Joseph's Health Care and the London Health Sciences
Center, London, Ontario. Dr. Singh can be reached for interviews
This study was funded by the Ontario Research and Development Challenge
Fund, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and CIHR.