Navigation Links
Fetal Gene May Contribute to Diabetes Risk
Date:5/8/2008

Study finds it plays key role in development of defective cells in type 2 diabetics

THURSDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Reduced activity of an important gene during fetal development appears to increase vulnerability to type 2 diabetes later in life, new research suggests.

Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), which causes low birth weight in newborns, has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and other diseases when a child grows up.

And decreased activity of the Pdx1 gene during fetal development has been linked to susceptibility for type 2 diabetes later on. The gene plays an important role in the development and function of pancreatic beta cells, which produce the hormone insulin. Insulin is necessary to transport sugar from the blood stream to the body's cells for energy. People with diabetes either don't produce enough insulin or aren't sensitive enough to the insulin that is produced.

The Pdx1 gene, however, had no mutation in animals with IUGR, presenting a mystery to scientists: If there is no mutation, why is the gene permanently altered?

"What happens in the intra-uterine environment? Why does that lead to the development of diabetes later in life?" asked Dr. Rebecca A. Simmons, senior author of a paper published in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"What in intra-uterine life makes that beta cell not work properly even after you've been born into a normal environment?" added Simmons, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Using a rodent model of IUGR, the researchers found that "epigenetic" changes were responsible for the lowered activity -- the gene was not totally silenced but was "markedly reduced," Simmons said. Epigenetic changes are basically changes in the structure of the DNA that occur when the cell divides and the DNA is replicated. These changes interfere with the ability of DNA to be transcribed, or send messages out to the rest of the body, she said.

Researchers were previously able to normalize the activity of the Pdx1 gene in both newborn and adult animals with diabetes, using the drug Byetta (Exendin-4). It's not clear yet if the drug can also reverse epigenetic changes. The drug comes from Gila monster saliva, Simmons said.

But investigators face a huge technical hurdle trying to confirm these findings in humans.

"We do know this process [gene silencing] occurs in humans, particularly in cancer with tumor suppressor genes," Simmons explained. "What we don't know is if this process is responsible, in humans, for changes that we see in growth-retarded babies growing up."

"We'd like to think this is the case [that the same process is at work in humans], but we have no way right now to determine that," Simmons continued.

If the same mechanism is at work in humans, the Pdx1 gene may present a good target for drug therapy to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, she said.

More information

Visit the American Diabetes Association for more on type 2 diabetes.



SOURCES: Rebecca A. Simmons, M.D., associate professor, pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia; May 2008 Journal of Clinical Investigation


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Mothers Blood Could Offer Insights Into Fetal Health
2. Residual fetal cells in women may provide protection against breast cancer
3. Fetal cell transplant could be a hidden link between childbirth and reduced risk of breast cancer
4. Fetal Surgery Saves Baby After Early Water Break
5. Fetal heart rate yields clues to childrens later development
6. Fetal Heart Rate Points to Later Child Development
7. Fetal Exposure to Arsenic Affects Genes
8. Procedure to detect fetal heart defects is first automated use of 3-D ultrasound
9. Fetal Alcohol Exposure May Prime Offspring for Alcoholism
10. Fetal surgeon shows for first time that laser procedure may treat vasa previa
11. Eye Blinks May ID Fetal Alcohol Exposure
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex set ... drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and suffering, ... traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from depression, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... International Conference and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant ... of the grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort ... the American Cancer Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients ... seniors and other adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine ... Making in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor ... Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Strategic Capital ... area economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging technology companies. SCP has ... have already resulted in more than a million dollars of capital investment for ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher to ... Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher was also ... and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive member of ... expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx in connection ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  MedSource announced ... as its e-clinical software solution of choice.  This ... best possible value to their clients by offering ... The preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC ... for MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016 Any dentist ... many challenges of the current process. Many of them do ... of the technical difficulties and high laboratory costs involved. And ... to offer it at such a high cost that the ... it. Dr. Parsa Zadeh , founder of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: