A new study conducted by researchers from Alcalá University in Spain, in collaboration with various research institutes, has provided valuable insights into the relationship between COVID-19, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and the role of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4). The study’s primary objective was to unravel the reasons behind the heightened vulnerability of T2DM patients to COVID-19. While the angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2) has long been recognized as the primary receptor for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, DPP4 has been proposed as a potential co-receptor.
To achieve their goal, the researchers examined serum samples from different clinical groups. The results revealed a significant reduction in both DPP4 concentration and activity in COVID-19 and T2DM patients when compared to the control group. Intriguingly, the study also found that COVID-19 patients exhibited a higher ratio of DPP4 activity to concentration, suggesting the presence of a compensatory mechanism.
Additionally, the study shed light on the effects of gliptins, which are DPP4 inhibitors commonly used in the treatment of T2DM. The researchers discovered that gliptins not only improved mortality rates but also exhibited anti-inflammatory effects in diabetic patients with COVID-19. However, the precise mechanism behind this interaction and how gliptins interfere with DPP4 activity in COVID-19 patients remains unclear and requires further investigation.
These findings emphasize the need for continued research to comprehensively understand the complex interactions between DPP4, gliptins, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus. By gaining a deeper understanding of these relationships, researchers can potentially develop more targeted and effective therapeutic approaches for T2DM patients who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
This study serves as a significant stepping stone towards unraveling the intricate mechanisms underlying the susceptibility of T2DM patients to COVID-19. With further research, these findings may pave the way for the development of novel treatment strategies that can mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in individuals with T2DM.