Early Loss of Islet Sympathetic Nerves Seen in Type 1 Diabetes

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Researchers found early, marked, and sustained islet sympathetic nerve loss in type 1 diabetes.
Researchers found early, marked, and sustained islet sympathetic nerve loss in type 1 diabetes.

(HealthDay News) — Early, marked, and sustained loss of islet sympathetic nerves is seen in type 1, but not type 2, diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes.

Thomas O. Mundinger, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues examined whether patients with type 1 diabetes have early and severe loss of islet sympathetic nerves, and whether this nerve loss is permanent.

The researchers observed severe loss of islet sympathetic nerves in patients with very recent onset (less than 2 weeks) or long duration (more than 10 years) type 1 diabetes (Δ = −88% and −79%, respectively). 

Patients with type 2 diabetes did not lose islet sympathetic nerves. No loss of exocrine sympathetic nerves was seen in type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

"We conclude that type 1, but not type 2, diabetic patients have an early, marked, sustained, and islet-selective loss of sympathetic nerves, one that may impair their glucagon response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia," the researchers wrote.

Reference

  1. Mundinger TO, Mei Q, Foulis AK, Fligner CL, Hull RL, Taborsky GJ. Human type 1 diabetes is characterized by an early, marked, sustained and islet-selective loss of sympathetic nerves. Diabetes. 2016. doi:10.2337/db16-0284.
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