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Diabetes Gene Raises Odds of Lower Birth Weight
Date:7/29/2009

evious studies by European diabetes researchers, said Grant, had suggested that CDKAL1 was implicated in both lower birth weight and type 2 diabetes, and the current study, using a large sample size, reinforced that association.

Under the fetal insulin hypothesis, a slight underproduction of insulin, an important fetal growth factor, during the prenatal period may cause a baby to be born smaller. Low birth weight is already known to increase the risk of disease later in life, and the fetal insulin hypothesis proposes that the same gene that causes lower birth weight also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

"The mechanisms by which CDKAL1 may act are not well understood, but it is believed to reduce insulin secretion, and that underproduction contributes to type 2 diabetes," said Grant. He added that further research may investigate biological pathways on which the gene functions, and may also study whether it may influence the risk of developing other diseases in later life.

The National Institutes of Health, the Cotswold Foundation and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia supported this study. Grant and Hakonarson, and their co-authors, are from both The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brou
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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