Scientists at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) Bahia found that diabetes induces inflammation in circulating cells of the immune system with increased expression of the ACE2 and ALOX5 genes, making them more prone to invasion by the new coronavirus, Sars-CoV-2.
“The researchers also observed an increase in leukotriene B4 (LTB4) in these patients’ blood cells, a lipid mediator associated with changes such as inflammation and impaired healing in diabetes, indicating that LTB4 may be a mediator that increases the risk of covid-19 severe in individuals with comorbidity and one of the causes of the most pronounced systemic inflammatory response. These patients require intensive care more often due to lung injury”, says Fiocruz.
The survey results were published in Diabetes, one of the most important scientific journals in the world on the subject.
In the study, mortality rates were similar between patients with covid-19 with or without diabetes, but the severity was greater in individuals with the disease, as well as the reduction in oxygen saturation and the significant increase in the duration of the covid-19.
To assess the role of low-grade chronic inflammation in worsening covid-19 in people with diabetes, researchers analyzed clinical data and blood samples from patients with and without diabetes hospitalized with Sars-CoV-2. According to the research institution, although it is known that diabetes is a risk factor for covid-19, the mechanisms involved in the evolution of the disease in individuals with this comorbidity are still unknown.
Fiocruz scientists highlighted that, taking into account that about 463 million people in the world live with diabetes and that covid-19 is highly transmissible, there is an urgent need to identify mechanisms that prevent infection in this group of people.