Scientists Find Another Gene Linked to Diabetes

250 million people around the world have type 2 diabetes, a disorder in which the person’s blood glucose is not properly metabolized in the body, resulting in abnormal blood glucose levels that affect the body in numerous ways. At this time it is not yet clear how the gene works, it may prove a future target for treatments, among other benefits, say the authors of a study published March 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Study

For this study, researchers from the University of Catanzaro in Italy looked at people with and without diabetes in three populations: about 6,500 Italian patients; close to 2,000 U.S. residents; and about 400 French people. Among the study participants with type 2 diabetes, about 7 to 8 percent of people in each group had the variant of the HMGA1 gene. In the Italian group, this represented a 16-fold higher risk in people with type 2 diabetes versus the control group. The gene appears to be involved in insulin resistance.

Conclusion

“The best of circumstances that are reported in this study, 7.7 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes have this gene variant," Wittlin said. "Certainly one can identify patients at risk for type 2 more on the basis of such things as family history or body build."

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