Diabetes and high levels of blood sugar may be linked to abnormalities in a person's body clock and sleep patterns, according to a genome-wide association study published today in the journal Nature Genetics.
The research suggests that diabetes and higher than normal blood sugar levels could partly be tackled by treating sleep problems, say the researchers, from Imperial College London, the French National Research Institute CNRS, Lille University, McGill University in Canada, Steno Diabetes Centre in Denmark and other international institutions.
People with high blood sugar levels and diabetes have a greatly increased risk of developing a range of conditions, including cardiovascular diseases.
The new study shows that a mutation called rs1387153, near a gene called MTNR1B, is associated with having an increased average blood sugar level and around a 20 percent elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
MTNR1B forms part of a signalling pathway that controls the action of the hormone melatonin. This hormone regulates the body's circadian rhythm - the internal clock that controls sleeping and eating patterns by responding to daylight and darkness.
The discovery of the rs1387153 mutation provides evidence that high blood sugar and diabetes could be directly linked to an impaired circadian rhythm.
Professor Philippe Froguel, the corresponding author of the research from the Department of Genomic Medicine at Imperial College London, said: "There is already some research to suggest there are links between sleep problems and conditions such as obesity and depression, both of which are associated with diabetes. For example, we know that obese children tend to sleep badly and that people become more obese if they are not having enough sleep. Our new study demonstrates that abnormalities in the circadian rhythm may partly be causing diabetes and high blood sugar levels. We hope it will ultimately pro
|Contact: Laura Gallagher|
Imperial College London