Is autoimmunity or insulin resistance the primary driver of type 1 diabetes?
Current Diabetes Reports
Current Medicine Group /Springer
Diabetes is usually classified as autoimmune or metabolic but, as difficulties have arisen with the taxonomy of diabetes, it may help to forego the conventional classification for a more inclusive model. Thus, all diabetes can be ascribed to beta cell insufficiency-hyperglycemia occurs only when the insulin supply fails to meet demand. Humans enter the world with a reserve of beta cells, which is eroded variably by apoptosis over the course of a lifetime. For most, the loss is slow and inconsequential but, for others fast enough to be critical within a lifetime. The challenge now is to define the factors that vary the tempo of beta cell loss, because tempo, not type, seems likely to determine whether diabetes occurs at all, in adulthood or in childhood. Insulin resistance is generally believed to underpin T2D, but has been a feature of insulin-dependent diabetes as well for nearly 80 years, though largely ignored until immunotherapy trials to test the autoimmunity hypothesis persistently failed to bring patient benefit. It seems possible that insulin resistance accelerates beta cell loss generally, its impact modulated by an immune response (autoimmunity) to the beta-cell stress whose intensity varies with immunogenotype. If so, the target for prevention of T1D might more logically lie with insulin sensitivity than with immunoregulation.
The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11892-013-0407-7
Vol. 13 (5), pp. 651 - 656
Place of publication