Nearly half of type 2 diabetes patients may recover after weight loss: study

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-02 23:39:46|Editor: yan
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Clinical trial findings reported on Thursday in the journal Cell Metabolism revealed that nearly half of type 2 diabetes individuals returned to non-diabetic state after weight-loss within six years of diagnosis.

British and Nigerian researchers revealed that this response is associated with the early and sustained improvement in the functioning of pancreatic beta cells, challenging the traditional view that beta-cell function is irreversibly lost in patients with type 2 diabetes.

"Our data suggest that substantial weight loss at the time of diagnosis is appropriate to rescue the beta cells," said the paper's senior author Roy Taylor with Newcastle University.

According to WHO, approximately 90 percent of about 422 million diabetic patients worldwide are type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body does not produce enough or respond properly to insulin, a hormone produced by beta cells in the pancreas.

In the study, 46 percent of individuals in the weight-management intervention group responded to weight loss in that they recovered and maintained control over blood glucose concentrations.

However, some non-responders did have lost enough weight and similar to responders, they experienced reductions in liver fat content, pancreatic fat content, and blood concentrations of triglycerides.

Taylor and researchers from University of Glasgow and Lagos State University then found that only the responders demonstrated early and sustained improvement in beta-cell function.

The most striking difference between responders and non-responders was the first-phase insulin response, according to the study.

First-phase insulin secretion increased in responders after weight loss but did not change in non-responders.

Pancreatic beta cells secrete insulin in two phases in response to an increase in blood glucose concentration. The first phase, which consists of a brief spike lasting approximately 10 minutes, is typically absent in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The findings suggested that weight loss normalized fat metabolism in all individuals with type 2 diabetes, but the more rapid loss of the capacity of beta cells to recover prevented some individuals from returning to a non-diabetic state.

"The knowledge of reversibility of type 2 diabetes, ultimately due to re-differentiation of pancreatic beta cells, will lead to further targeted work to improve understanding of this process," said Taylor.