Autoimmune disease and inhalation of particulates

Airborne particulate matter appears to increase risk of diabetes, as discussed a few posts down and diabetics appear to have altered immune function according to a number of parameters. Diabetics have now been observed to have stronger indicators of immune response when air pollution levels (particulate matter in this case) are high. Schneider and Alexis (2010 . . . two first authors, congratulations all) observed increased blood levels of endogenous promotors of Activated Protein C Resistance. Diabetics who were also obese, or who did not express GSTm1, (not having this, by the way, increases risk of a wide array of cancers) or who already had elevated HbA1C (this is an indicator of longer-term blood glucose levels) had the strongest response to particulate matter. So, are diabetics more vulnerable to challenges to the immune system? Do these challenges contribute to development of diabetes? Or is there an interplay in each (diabetes and immune response)alters the pattern of the other. Lets hope they don’t progressively spiral over time and continued exposure. The cohort was small with only 20 subjects, but it would be interesting to look at response to particulate matter by age, or time since diagnosis of type II diabetes.

Schneider A, Alexis NE, Diaz-Sanchez D, Neas LM, Harder S, Herbst MC, Cascio WE, Buse JB, Peters A, & Devlin RB (2010). Ambient PM2.5-Exposure Up-regulates the Expression of Co-Stimulatory Receptors on Circulating Monocytes in Diabetic Individuals. Environmental health perspectives PMID: 21169129

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