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Understanding the pathogenesis of lean non-autoimmune diabetes in an African population with newly diagnosed diabetes – published online 09/02/2022

Kibirige graphical abstract

Davis Kibirige, Isaac Sekitoleko, William Lumu, Angus G. Jones, Andrew T. Hattersley, Liam Smeeth, Moffat J. Nyirenda

Atypical diabetes has been described in sub-Saharan Africa, with non-insulin-requiring apparent type 2 diabetes seen in lean and sometimes young individuals. However, robust data on the clinical and metabolic characterisation of these lean individuals with diabetes are lacking. In this issue, Kibirige et al ( investigated the phenotype of newly diagnosed adult-onset diabetes in Uganda. The authors report that individuals with a lean type 2 diabetes phenotype were predominantly male, exhibiting significant pancreatic beta cell dysfunction but no evidence of the metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance. This study further adds to evidence of differences in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes across populations. The authors suggest that due to the observed differences in underlying pathophysiological defects of type 2 diabetes, there is a need for interventional studies to investigate the optimal individualised therapies for individuals with a lean type 2 diabetes phenotype in sub-Saharan Africa.

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