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Could Type 1 Diabetes be an Effect of COVID-19?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues on, researchers are learning more about the wide range of effects that it has on individuals. The disease presents differently in different people, ranging from those who are asymptomatic to those who end up with severe symptoms and are put on a ventilator. Some people develop a loss of taste and smell or having a lingering cough and trouble breathing, even after recovery. There is so much that is yet unknown about SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19.

Another concerning discovery that researchers are investigating is whether the virus may play a role in some patients developing type 1 diabetes. A recent study found that some people who did not previously have a diabetes diagnosis are experiencing type 1 diabetes. Though more research is needed, researchers are questioning whether the virus triggers an autoimmune response that damages or destroys insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells.

There have been numerous patients who have presented with hyperglycemia, but this could also be due to the stress put on their body by the disease, as well as steroids used to promote recovery. In some patients, blood sugar issues resolved on their own, not resulting in type 1 diabetes, whereas others had a lasting effect. It is important to follow up after recovery to see if blood sugar management problems still exist and if there is the possibility that type 1 diabetes has developed.

These are still preliminary studies, so researchers cannot say for certain whether COVID-19 may cause type 1 diabetes in some people, but it is a possibility that they are continuing to investigate. Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see how this study evolves moving forward and what it could mean for the type 1 diabetes community. The DRC is committed to providing critical funding to support type 1 diabetes research, though was not involved with this study. Learn more about current projects and how to help by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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Role of the integrated stress response in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis
In individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the insulin-producing beta cells are spontaneously destroyed by their own immune system. The trigger that provokes the immune system to destroy the beta cells is unknown. However, accumulating evidence suggest that signals are perhaps first sent out by the stressed beta cells that eventually attracts the immune cells. Stressed cells adapt different stress mitigation systems as an adaptive response. However, when these adaptive responses go awry, it results in cell death. One of the stress response mechanisms, namely the integrated stress response (ISR) is activated under a variety of stressful stimuli to promote cell survival. However, when ISR is chronically activated, it can be damaging to the cells and can lead to cell death. The role of the ISR in the context of T1D is unknown. Therefore, in this DRC funded study, we propose to study the ISR in the beta cells to determine its role in propagating T1D.
Wearable Skin Fluorescence Imaging Patch for the Detection of Blood Glucose Level on an Engineered Skin Platform
A Potential Second Cure for T1D by Re-Educating the Patient’s Immune System
L Ferreira
Validating the Hypothesis to Cure T1D by Eliminating the Rejection of Cells From Another Person by Farming Beta Cells From a Patient’s Own Stem Cells
Han Zhu
Taming a Particularly Lethal Category of Cells May Reduce/Eliminate the Onset of T1D
JRDwyer 2022 Lab 1
Can the Inhibition of One Specific Body Gene Prevent Type 1 Diabetes?
Is Cholesterol Exacerbating T1D by Reducing the Functionality and Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells?
Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells
A Call to Question… Is T1D Caused by Dysfunctionality of Two Pancreatic Cells (β and α)?
Xin Tong
Novel therapy initiative with potential path to preventing T1D by targeting TWO components of T1D development (autoimmune response and beta-cell survival)
flavia pecanha