Quick Test Detects Inflammation in Diabetic Patients

A new kit has been developed that will allow doctors to find out within minutes if diabetic patients are suffering from inflammation. Current procedures require patients to wait for several hours for the results obtained from the conventional full blood count test.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common and is usually treated with lifestyle changes, medication and insulin. If diabetic patients can be grouped based on their inflammation status in addition to glucose level, then doctors can better choose the treatment best suited for their patients.

Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and their colleagues have developed a rapid microfluidic neutrophil sorting and functional phenotyping strategy for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients using small blood volumes from a fingerprick of ~100 μL. The developed inertial microfluidics technology enables single-step neutrophil isolation of greater than 90% purity without immuno-labeling and sorted neutrophils are used to characterize their rolling behavior on E-selectin, a critical step in leukocyte recruitment during inflammation. Flow cytometry analysis was performed using BD LSR Fortessa flow cytometer (BD Biosciences, San Jose, CA, USA).

The team discovered that neutrophils can be used as a biomarker to determine if diabetic patients are suffering from an inflammation. Using the new test kit, neutrophils can be easily extracted from a blood sample, and their behavior and function observed for more efficient inflammation profiling in additional to the cell count. In healthy individuals, neutrophils float free in the blood stream. When there is an acute inflammation such as during a bacterial or viral infection, they will slow down and roll along the vessel walls.

Once near the site of infection, the neutrophils squeeze through the vessel walls and move to the site of the injury. In diabetic patients, the neutrophils roll faster, which means that fewer of them will manage to squeeze through the vessel wall to tackle the infection. The increased rolling speeds of neutrophils correlate closely with cholesterol and C-reactive protein levels, a biomarker for inflammation, so it provides doctors with a better indicator of an individual’s immune status.

The authors concluded that their results suggest a new point-of-care testing methodology, and neutrophil rolling speed as a functional biomarker for rapid profiling of dysmetabolic subjects in clinical and patient-oriented settings. This new test kit will advance diabetes management by providing real-time signals related to a cluster of risk factors faced by patients. It will lead the way to improvements in patient care, enabling chronic disease self-management and finally a healthier society. The study was published on September 27, 2016, in the journal Scientific Reports.

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