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Biology Essay on Type 2 Diabetes is an Inflammatory Disease

Type 2 Diabetes is an Inflammatory Disease

Objective of the study

The aim of this research was to investigate whether type 2 diabetes causes inflammation. It indicates how, during the early stages of the type 2 diabetes in mice, macrophages (a category of immune cells) unleash their invasion of pancreatic tissue and cause the release of large amounts of cytokines (pro-inflammatory proteins). This release assists in the destruction of insulin-generating beta cells. This experiment undertook the comparison of obese mice that impulsively developed diabetes to healthy ones. The mice were observed from a young age, during the very early phases of obesity, until after the condition in adulthood had started affecting various organs.

Description of Experiment

The researchers also conducted supervision on the occurrence of macrophages about beta cells in the spleen and pancreas. In order to acquire accurate measurements at the single cells, they applied advanced cytometric technology. According to their observations, significant differences were spotted in what occurred to the pancreatic islets (the beta cells clusters that are charged with manufacturing and release of insulin) and the spleen between the healthy mice and the ones with diabetes. The disparities were observable both in the early stages of growth and development of the mice and also in the later stages. For example, at the eighth week of the disease, 12 macrophages were observed in the diabetic islets, while about only two were seen in the non-diabetic littermates. The occurrence of the large amounts of macrophages in adult diabetic mice resulted into the release of pro-inflammatory proteins.

Background Information

In the earlier days, the human type 2 diabetes was characterized by loss of beta cells, reduction in the production of insulin and systemic inflammation. However, the comprehension of local islet immunity has persisted to be quite poor. Thus, the causes of these signs have not been extensively researched. In conducting this study, the researchers had in mind, this background information. This means that they were motivated to finding out if type 2 diabetes causes inflammation, and the probable explanation of this occurrence.


The researchers did thorough monitoring and measurement of the quantity of macrophages in the pancreatic islets among the mice. This is an implication that the population of these macrophages was the independent variable. On the other hand, the cytokine levels, which result into inflammation, were dependent variables.


Part 2

Research Step                                                            Application to this Problem

ObservationHuman type 2 diabetes is characterized by loss of beta cells, low-grade systemic inflammation as well as diminished insulin production.
Defining the ProblemIs type 2 diabetes an inflammatory disease?
Forming a hypothesisObese mice that spontaneously develop diabetes will have a significantly high amount of macrophages in the islets of the pancreas and spleen.
Testing hypothesisThe researchers took young mice born at the same time and created differing conditions such that some of them would be obese while some would remain healthy.
Observing and recording resultsUsing advanced cytometric technology, they recorded the population of macrophages in the islets of the miceThe measurements were when the mice were still young, at the onset of obesity and when the condition had started affecting several organs
Drawing conclusionsIn the past, researchers and medical practitioners had observed that type 2 diabetes causes inflammation in patients. This study confirms that the disease is indeed inflammatory
Reporting resultsThis study provide important insights that will allow for the development of specific anti-inflammatory based therapies that will reduce the burden of type 2 diabetes patients.






Paddock, C. (2014). Type 2 diabetes is an inflammatory disease, say researchers. Retrieved 18 January 2014 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270817.php



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