Study: Link Discovered Between Depression and Type 1 Diabetes

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By : Suvarna Sheth

It’s been known that a connection exists between depression and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but now the link between the two may become even clearer.

New research published in Endocrine Connections finds that depression in type 1 diabetes patients is specifically tied to higher levels of the inflammatory protein, galectin-3.

The findings suggest that galectin-3 levels may be useful for diagnosis of depression or maybe a new target for treating depression associated with type-1 diabetes.

Higher than normal levels of galectin-3 have been linked to an increased risk of inflammatory disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease.

Prior research suggests both depression and diabetes may be associated with increased levels of inflammation in the body but the role of galectin-3 was not explored in either condition.

In the study, led by Dr. Eva Olga Melin at Lund University in Sweden, researchers measured the galectin-3 levels of 283 men and women, ages 18-59, with type-1 diabetes, for at least one year.  The occurrence of depression in patients on the trial was self-reported.

The researchers found that both men and women with type-1 diabetes and depression also had significantly higher galectin-3 levels.

The team plans to look into the link between type-1 diabetes, depression, and galectin-3 further because while the findings indicate there is a relationship, larger, long-term studies are needed to show a true correlation.

In a press release, Melin points that, “depression is a common disorder with very serious and debilitating consequences, so these findings suggest that further investigating the role of galectin-3 could lead to improved diagnosis and maybe better treatment outcomes for patients in the future.”

Learn more about diabetes and depression here.


  1. Eva O Melin, Jonatan Dereke, Maria Thunander, Magnus Hillman. “Depression in type 1 diabetes was associated with high levels of circulating galectin-3.” Endocrine Connections, 2018; EC-18-0108 DOI: 1530/EC-18-0108
  2. “New link identified between inflammation and depression in type-1 diabetes,” (2018, June 6). Retrieved from