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Newly identified genes influence insulin and glucose regulation
Date:1/17/2010

egulation are associated with greater risk for type 2 diabetes. Some loci elevate fasting glucose slightly but do not raise diabetes risk. It appears that it's not the mere elevation in glucose, but how glucose is raised, that determines type 2 diabetes risk."

In the second paper, 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 discovery highlights the role of incretin hormones, which are released from endocrine cells in the gut. "This finding adds to a growing body of evidence implicating the incretin pathways in type 2 diabetes risk. These pathways, which stimulate insulin secretion in response to digestion of food, may offer a potential avenue for therapeutic intervention," said senior author Richard Watanabe, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California.

The variants were found in populations of European descent, but the researchers expect that some will have similar effects in other populations. Future research will attempt to answer that question. "Even with the discovery of these variants, we've only explained about 10 percent of the genetic contribution to fasting glucose in people who do not have diabetes," Florez cautioned. Yet undiscovered genes may be found by studies that increase sample sizes to detect smaller effects and look for less common variants as well as non-SNP variantsfor example, insertions, deletions, and duplications of DNA that haven't been well studied yet.


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Contact: Joan Chamberlain
NIDDKMedia@mail.nih.gov
301-496-3583
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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