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Diabetes incidence and glucose intolerance prevalence increase with higher outdoor temperature
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  • Published on:
    The hot environment hypothesis in diabetes pathophysiology
    • Sophie Antoine-Jonville, Assistant Professor in exercise physiology ACTES laboratory (EA3596), University of the French West Indies, BP 250. 97157 Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France
    • Other Contributors:
      • Olivier Hue, Professor in exercise physiology

    Dear editor,

    The study published in a recent volume of the journal by Blauw et al. is an excellent opportunity to highlight an under-examined environmental hypothesis in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes.1 In their epidemiological study, the authors used meta-regression models and demonstrated that diabetes incidence rate in the USA has increased with higher outdoor temperatures from 1996 and 2009, after adjustment for most common confounders. They also evidenced an independent association between the prevalence of glucose intolerance worldwide and mean annual temperature on a global scale. The theoretical background for the work mainly stands on the reduction in brown adipose tissue activity due to high ambient temperature that is expected to negatively impact glucose metabolism. This view is plausible, particularly since recent data uncovered potential crosstalk between brown adipose tissue and glucose regulatory pathways,2 but it is important for us to discuss the context of the study.

    We are definitely concerned about the burden of consequences of climate change including biodiversity assault, threats to the human species’ safety, health and well-being because of increased risks related to extreme weather events, wildfire, air quality, and other environmental disease carriers. However, isn’t it cynical that the glucose metabolism disturbance observed in warm environmental temperature might become a serious working hypothesis concomitantly with (b...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.