Sumary of Why do people with diabetes develop severe COVID-19?:
- The culprit appears to be an enzyme called SETDB2. This same enzyme has been implicated in the non-healing, inflammatory wounds found in people with diabetes.
- In the mouse and human models, noted Melvin and Gallagher, as SETDB2 went down, inflammation went up.
- In addition, they revealed that a pathway known as JAK1/STAT3 regulates SETDB2 in macrophages during coronavirus infection.
- Previous findings from the lab demonstrated that interferon, a cytokine important for viral immunity, increased SETDB2 in response to wound healing.
- In their new study, they found blood serum from patients in the ICU with diabetes and severe COVID-19 had reduced levels of interferon-beta compared to patients without diabetes.
- “Interferon has been studied throughout the pandemic as a potential therapy, with efforts going back and forth between trying to increase or decrease interferon levels,” said Gallagher.
- ” To test this, the study team administered interferon beta to coronavirus-infected diabetic mice and saw that they were able to increase SETDB2 and decrease inflammatory cytokines.
- “We’re trying to home in on what controls SETDB2, which is sort of the master regulator of a lot of these inflammatory cytokines that you hear about as being increased in COVID-19, such as IL-1B, TNFalpha, and IL-6,” explained Gallagher.