Navigation Links
New genes present drug targets for managing cholesterol and glucose levels
Date:12/7/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Scientists have identified 12 new genes that are somewhat strange bedfellows: Some link gallstones and blood cholesterol levels, others link melatonin and sleep patterns to small increases in glucose levels and larger jumps in the risk of diabetes.

While these associations are surprising, all the genes are potential new drug targets and some of them could help explain conditions that have been a mystery. Nature Genetics will publish two papers explaining the findings online Dec 7, in advance of the January print edition.

The 12 new genes relate to cholesterol and glucose levels, but several point to somewhat surprising links between these traits and other conditions, said Goncalo Abecasis, associate professor of biostatistics at the University of Michigan School of Public Health who co-directed the cholesterol study. Cristen Willer, a postdoctoral researcher working with Michael Boehnke, a professor at the U-M SPH, was lead analyst and joint first author of the study along with Sekar Kathiresan of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Cholesterol is a strong predictor of heart disease and in a previous study, Abecasis, Boehnke, Willer and colleagues had shown that genetic variants that raise LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein or so-called bad cholesterol) levels also increase the risk of heart disease. The current study describes the most detailed assessment of the genetics of cholesterol to date, examining genetic variants and cholesterol levels in more than 40,000 individuals.

"An important finding is that several of these genes have multiple different changes that can affect cholesterol," Willer said. For example, in the PCSK9 gene there are common variants that affect about 40 percent of the population and increase LDL by about 3-6 milligrams per deciliter, a fairly small amount. Another variant affects roughly 2 percent of individuals but increases LDL by about 15-30 milligrams per deciliter. Finally, there are extremely rare changes in the same gene that affect fewer than 1 in 1000 people but can increase LDL by well over 100 milligrams per deciliter.

"We think looking at this list of genes in individuals with extremely high cholesterol may clarify a lot of those unexplained cases," Abecasis said.

In the cholesterol study, U-M scientists and collaborators at more than 10 institutions in the U.S. and Europe located 30 genetic variants associated with cholesterol levels, including 11 new ones. Notably, several of the newly implicated genetic variants were also related to the risk of gallstones and certain rare forms of diabetes.

"Each of these genes is a potentially interesting drug target," said Abecasis. Statins, a class of cholesterol lowering drugs used to reduce the risk of heart disease, target the HMGCR gene, one of the genes identified in the study. The other genes identified in the study could lead to entirely new and more effective therapies to manage cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, the genetic changes they identify can also help predict whether each individual will develop high LDL or low HDL.

In the paper studying glucose levels, Abecasis and Boehnke collaborated with researchers across the globe to discover genetic changes strongly associated with a small increase in glucose levels in non-diabetic individuals. They also found the same changes increased the risk of developing diabetes by up to 20 percent.

"Observing an increased risk for diabetes was surprising because the changes in glucose levels were well within the normal range," said Boehnke, who has studied the genetics of diabetes for more than 15 years.

The gene, called the melatonin receptor, helps regulate the circadian clock, among other things. The finding strengthens the association between disrupted sleep patterns and diabetes, Boehnke said.

In the glucose study, scientists looked at the genomes of 36,000 individuals.


'/>"/>

Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-647-1848
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Genes for 9 health indicators
2. Genes determine whether sugar pills work
3. Einstein researchers develop technique to count messages made by single genes
4. Bipolar disorder genes, pathways identified by Indiana University neuroscientists
5. From genes to farmers fields
6. Researchers at IRB Barcelona produce more data on key genes in diabetes
7. Human genes sing different tunes in different tissues
8. NJIT professor finds engineering technique to identify disease-causing genes
9. Mapping a clan of mobile selfish genes
10. Genes that control cell death fingered in age-related hearing loss
11. Researchers continue to find genes for type 1 diabetes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... offering. The report forecasts the ... at a CAGR of 12.28% during the period 2016-2020. ... analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market ... also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics ... as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during the ... Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... growth in each of the following categories: net square feet ... of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... LOS ANGELES , June 22, 2016 ... of identity management and verification solutions, has ... cutting edge software solutions for Visitor Management, ... ® provides products that add functional ... The partnership provides corporations and venues with ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Alex,s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a leading national childhood ... state-of-the-art bioinformatics lab, using ,big data, to advance the ... Liz Scott , co-executive director of ALSF and ... Washington, D.C. , hosted by Vice ... of pediatric cancer research and awareness. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 27, 2016  Global demand for enzymes is ... 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This market includes enzymes ... products, biofuel production, animal feed, and other markets) ... biocatalysts). Food and beverages will remain the largest ... consumption of products containing enzymes in developing regions.  ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ("Biorem" or ... its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, LP and ... based venture capital funds which together hold ... a fully diluted, as converted basis), that they have ... entire equity holdings in Biorem to TUS Holdings Co. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... DIEGO , June 27, 2016  Sequenom, Inc. ... committed to enabling healthier lives through the development of ... Court of the United States ... courts that the claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent No. ... patent eligibility criteria established by the Supreme Court,s Mayo ...
Breaking Biology Technology: