New-onset diabetes in COVID-19: Unexpected results

The insulin/IGF signaling pathway is an important pathway in regulating energy metabolism and cell survival, and the researchers suspect that COVID-19 affects this signaling pathway to cause cell death. problems with blood sugar regulation.

To test this, they analyzed gene expression datasets from patients, as well as in vivo and in vitro models of COVID-19 infection. They specifically looked for genes that were significantly overexpressed or underexpressed in uninfected patients, animals or cells.


COVID-19 infection affects the expression of insulin/IGF signaling pathway components in lung, liver, adipose tissue, and pancreatic cells. Furthermore, these changes are partly due to the activation of interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1).

Further investigation revealed elevated IRF1 expression in elderly, male, obese and diabetic patients. The synergistic effects of aging, male sex, obesity, and diabetes with SARS-CoV-2 mean that IRF1 expression occurs at an accelerated rate, which may explain why these patients This is more susceptible to COVID-19.

How to treat diabetes due to COVID-19?

In addition, critically ill patients with COVID-19 had higher IRF1 expression and lower insulin/IGF signaling genes in their blood compared with patients without the disease. Finally, treatment of cells infected with COVID-19 or an animal model with hormonal factors that decrease IRF1 expression enhances insulin/IGF signaling.

These findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection attenuates insulin/IGF signaling by increasing IRF1 expression, thereby disrupting blood sugar metabolism.

Reducing IRF1 expression by treatment with factors such as dihydrotestosterone and dexamethasone may help mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

Given the devastating impact COVID-19 can have on many organ systems, treatment strategies that can reduce the disease’s impact on blood sugar metabolism can be extremely important.

By identifying patients at higher risk for these effects and intervening to reduce IRF1 activation, some of the severe consequences of COVID-19 could be avoided in susceptible populations.

Source: Medindia

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