Diabetes Patients Need to be Happy – Here’s Why

by Chrisy Ngilneii on  June 7, 2018 at 7:01 PM Health Watch
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Highlights:
  • Depression among people with type-1 diabetes is associated with higher levels of galectin-3.
  • Galectin-3 is a protein that causes inflammation.
  • Galectin-3 may be the target of future therapies for depression.
Among people with type-1 diabetes, depression means higher levels of the inflammatory protein galectin-3, according to a new study.
Diabetes Patients Need to be Happy – Here’s Why
Diabetes Patients Need to be Happy – Here’s Why

This discovery suggests that the inflammatory protein galectin-3 may be used as a biomarker for the diagnosis of depression or as a therapeutic target for depression.

It is well established that people with both type-1 and type-2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing depression, a debilitating mental health disorder with potentially serious consequences, but the causes remain poorly understood. Galectin-3 is a key protein involved in promoting inflammatory immune system responses that are needed to repair tissue damage throughout the body, in response to injury or disease. However, elevated levels of galectin-3 have also been linked to an increased risk of inflammatory disorders including Alzheimer's disease and cardiovascular disease. Previous research has suggested that both depression and diabetes may be associated with increased levels of inflammation in the body but the role of galectin-3 has not been investigated in either condition.

In this study, Dr Eva Olga Melin and colleagues at Lund University in Sweden measured the galectin-3 levels of 283 men and women, aged 18-59, with type-1 diabetes, for at least one year. The incidence of depression in these patients was self-reported and assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-Depression subscale and possible confounding influences of lifestyle factors including heart disease, smoking or poorly managed diabetes were accounted for in the analysis. The researchers found that both men and women with type-1 diabetes and depression also had significantly higher galectin-3 levels.

Dr Melin comments, "We found that people with type-1 diabetes and depression had higher galectin-3 levels, yet no other diabetes-related metabolic changes could account for these elevated levels."

The team now plans to further investigate the link between type-1 diabetes, depression and galectin-3, as although these findings indicate that galectin-3 levels are associated with diabetes and depression, they are not sufficient to show any causative relationship. Larger, long-term studies are needed, as well as further analyses investigating how galectin-3 levels are linked to the increased risk of depression, what inflammatory processes are altered, and whether they can be targeted to treat depression.

Dr Melin says, "Depression is a common disorder with very serious and debilitating consequences, so these findings suggest that further investigating the role of galectin-3 could lead to improved diagnosis and maybe better treatment outcomes for patients in the future."

References:
  1. Depression in Type 1 Diabetes was Associated with High Levels of Circulating Galectin-3 - ( http://www.endocrineconnections.com/content/early/2018/05/14/EC-18-0108)


  2. Source-Eurekalert

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