FAQ on type 4 diabetes

Salk Institute for Biological Studies - FAQ on type 4 diabetes

FAQ on type 4 diabetes

What is type 4 diabetes?
Salk scientists use this to describe age-related insulin resistance that occurs in lean, elderly people. While type 1 diabetes is a result of the immune system destroying insulin-producing cells and type 2 diabetes is caused by diet and obesity, type 4 diabetes is associated with older age, rather than weight gain. Type 3 diabetes is suggested for a type of insulin resistance that results in symptoms mimicking Alzheimer’s disease.

What do we know about type 4 diabetes?
The Salk Institute labs of Ronald Evans and Ye Zheng discovered that diabetes in aged, lean mice has a different cellular cause than Type 2 diabetes, which results from weight gain. The mice with type 4 diabetes had abnormally high levels of immune cells called T regulatory cells (Tregs) inside their fat tissue. Mice with type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, had abnormally low levels of Tregs within the tissue, despite having more fat tissue.

Therapeutic intervention that blocks Treg cells from accumulating in the fat reverses age-associated type 4 diabetes. However, this kind of therapy does not prevent type 2 diabetes insulin resistance.

The researchers now want to see if the same process will help humans with this type of diabetes.

How can I sign up for a clinical trial on this work?
The Salk Institute does not conduct human trials, but we do partner with a variety of research institutes and hospitals to test research. To find information on the current trial related to this work, visit:

How can I donate to this work?
To donate to the Salk Institute, please visit: https://www.salk.edu/donate.

To learn more about this research, please visit: https://www.salk.edu/news-release/blocking-immune-cell-treats-new-type-age-related-diabetes/.