Diabetes and a range of its causes and consequences declined or disappeared in obese mice, after researchers at the Mayo Clinic removed the so-called ‘zombie cells’ (senescent cells) from fat tissue, according to a paper published in Aging Cell.
Zombie cells, which has been proven accumulate in fat tissue of obese and diabetic people and mice, cause inflammation and dysfunction of fat tissue, which in turn origins insulin resistance in obese people. Several studies have linked these cells to age-related conditions such as nerve degradation, heart disease, muscle weakness and osteoporosis.
For the study, the Mayo Clinic researchers removed zombie cells of genetically modified mice and wild-type (normal) mice using two methods. In the first one, they administered a combination of senolytic drugs (which only kill senescent cells); in the second one, they caused genetically-mediated cell death.
The results showed that the mice presented improved levels of glucose and insulin sensitivity, in addition to decreased inflammatory factors and normalization of fat cells function. Finally, senolytic drugs improved heart and kidney functions, which are common complications of diabetes.
“Our findings show that senescent cells are a cause of obesity-related inflammation and metabolic dysfunction, and that senolytic drugs hold promise as a treatment of these conditions and their complications, which include diabetes,” senior author of the article, James Kirkland, said.
Source: Sience Daily