The 2016 National Mid-Way Health and Nutrition Survey shows that 9.4 percent of adults nationwide have been diagnosed with diabetes, and it was found a greater risk in women and in people living in urban locations.
When studying environmental pollution with fine and ultrafine particles, the research group of the Department of Toxicology of CINVESTAV, headed by Andrea De Vizcaya Ruiz, found a relationship between breathing these particles and pulmonary and cardiac conditions; establishing that exposure to these air pollutants affects the organism beyond the main route of entry.
Inside the organism, fine environmental particles (less than 2.5 microns) increase the processes of oxidative stress and inflammation in tissues, which are related to the development of some diseases. Inflammatory cytokines (components of inflammation of intercellular communication, differentiation and cell proliferation, among others) are released by cells affected by fine environmental particles and can reach other organs through the bloodstream.
Such is the case of interleukin 6 (IL-6), generally elevated in lung tissues and sometimes also in peripheral circulation in individuals exposed to these contaminants, which together with other inflammatory elements have been associated with processes such as insulin resistance, although the mechanisms by which inflammation leads to this process are not yet fully known.
In insulin resistance, the cell is not able to bind to insulin through its receptors, or sometimes when it manages to bind, other cellular processes stop its effect and with it all the functions carried out by insulin.
Glucose regulation is a common known function of insulin, but it has many more functions, such as protein synthesis and lipid metabolism control, among others. It was observed that a bad regulation of the insulin pathway can cause an accumulation of lipids in the cells, resulting in further damage, explained José Arturo Jiménez Chávez, a member of the research team.
“It is known that the smallest polluting particles manage to pass through the upper respiratory tract, and they can be deposited in different regions of the lung and some reach the alveoli, where they can induce local effects or pass into a systemic route. The alveolar wall is an extremely thin tissue that is very close to the blood vessels,” said Jiménez Chavez.
These polluting particles are composed of a carbon core, to which different organic and inorganic compounds (such as metals and ions) and some biological components; these interact with the cells of the alveolar wall, interfering in various cellular processes, increasing oxidative stress and inflammation. Depending on the concentration of these particles, the cells can die and consequently generate tissue damage.
If exposure to these contaminants is observed chronically (months or years) in individuals living in a contaminated environment, the aforementioned effects are associated with lung diseases, but also heart and other degenerative diseases. These processes are investigated in the laboratory of Andrea De Vizcaya.
“If these elements are added to the genetic risk towards some disease, overweight or obesity, among other factors, it can lead to the development of diabetes,” said Jiménez Chavez.
The studies currently carried out in lung cell models are focused on identifying the cause of processes such as insulin resistance related to metabolic diseases.
When talking about exposure to particle contamination, only pulmonary and cardiac damage was considered, but now damage is observed in different organs and also its possible relationship with different degenerative diseases (diabetes, metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis).
“We must continue working on the chemical speciation of these pollutants, further investigate their relationship with degenerative diseases and reduce the rates of contamination marked by current regulations,” said José Arturo Jiménez Chávez.
Source: Conexion CINVESTAV