Genetic discovery offers hope for diabetics

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London, Jan 18 (ANI): An international team of researchers have identified 13 new genetic variants that appear to play a vital role in insulin and glucose regulation.

Five of these genes have also been found to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The new study has revealed important clues about the role of beta cells in the development of type 2 diabetes.

In the first study, researchers sought to determine genes that affect metabolic traits, such as fasting glucose and insulin levels and measures of beta cell function and insulin resistance.

Initial findings revealed 25 candidate SNPs that were further tested in genetic samples from about 77,000 additional individuals.

They came across 16 SNPs that were clearly associated with fasting glucose and beta cell function and two SNPs associated with fasting insulin and insulin resistance.

By comparing gene variants from thousands of people with and without type 2 diabetes the researchers identified five glucose-level-associated variants - two of those newly identified and three discovered in previous studies.

In the second study, Meta-Analyses of Glucose and Insulin Related Traits Consortium (MAGIC)researchers evaluated genetic associations with glucose levels 2 hours after an oral glucose challenge in a subset of 15,234 participants.

They found that a genetic variant in the gene GIPR, which codes for the receptor of gastric inhibitory polypeptide, a beta cell regulating hormone, influences blood glucose levels after a glucose challenge, or sugary meal.

Individuals with the risk variant have reduced beta cell function.

The study highlights the role of incretin hormones, which are released from endocrine cells in the gut.

"Finding these new pathways can help us better understand how glucose is regulated, distinguish between normal and pathological glucose variations and develop potential new therapies for type 2 diabetes," Nature magazine quoted Dr Jose Florez, of the MGH Diabetes Unit and the Centre for Human Genetic Research, co-lead author of the report as saying.

The study appears in journal Nature Genetics. (ANI)

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