Researchers at Gangnam Severance Hospital have found that diabetes patients are more susceptible to other diseases due to decreased immunity, the hospital said Wednesday
|From left, Professor Kim Jung-hye, Nam Ju-sun and Ahn Chul-woo|
The team, led by Professors Ahn Chul-woo, Nam Ji-sun and Kim Jung-hye at the hospital, confirmed a drop in the immunity of patients with type 2 diabetes after measuring the activity rate of natural killer (NK) cells, which are responsible for the immune system of the body.
The researchers measured blood NK cell activity in 49 participants -- 13 with an average blood glucose level, 15 pre-diabetic, and 21 diabetic patients.
NK cell activity of the diabetic patients was 768.01, which was significantly lower than that of the average blood glucose (2,435.31) and pre-diabetic group (2,396.08). There was no significant difference between the average and pre-diabetic groups. Although chronic vascular injury and disturbance of the immune system can lead to various complications, the study is the first of its kind to show how much the immunity system of diabetic patients deteriorates.
“If a patient’s immune system is weak, it is likely to be accompanied by infectious diseases such as colds and pneumonia, and fatal diseases such as cancer,” Professor Ahn said. “Further research is needed to determine how the reduced immunity of diabetic patients affects myocardial infarction or stroke through diabetic retinopathy, renal disease, and atherosclerosis.”
Increasing the immunity of the patient can reduce the complications of diabetes and the mortality rate in the future, Ahn added.
Journal of Diabetes Investigation published the results of the study.