Your immune system can target its own fat and could soon be manipulated to fight obesity and diabetes. Constant overeating can overwhelm this natural defense but we can restart is correctly by a drug. This drug could be an alternative to invasive procedures such as stomach stapling or the band. The study done by Toronto researchers was published in Nature Medicine online July 26, 2009.
The reseacher’s theorize that this also suggests a reason why obesity leads to Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system is not working properly and turns against the body, causing the body to not run normally.
A healthy immune system produces killer T cells which attack abdominal fat cells, much like it does bacteria. This is the only known time when autoimmunity has a positive effect on the body! However the immune system becomes overloaded with chronic overeating, and this beneficial process shuts down. The fat cells become fatter, and inflammatory T cells (usually seen near wounds) take over the fat cells. This could be the link to Type 2 diabetes. (Side Note: “It’s been known if you have a serious wound, a serious tissue wound anywhere, you actually become insulin-resistant,” Dr. Hans-Michael Dosch, senoir editor of the research paper).
Type 2 diabetes, which often accompanies obesity. It is caused by the body’s cells inability to take up insulin from the blood, whereas childhood Type 1 diabetes is caused by the lack of insulin produced by the pancreas.
The drug is already approved by Health Canada and is used in transplant patients, so the use of this drug to reboot the immune system could be in our near future!