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UT Southwestern researchers uncover gene variant that appears to predict type 2 diabetes

DALLAS March 25, 2005 A particular gene variant that could serve as a predictor for type 2 diabetes has been identified by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Their findings indicated that a variation in the gene ENPP1 was as much as 13 percent more common in people with type 2 diabetes and those at greater risk for the disease. While further studies are needed, researchers said these results suggest that the variant may serve as an important genetic marker in identifying people at risk for type 2 diabetes.

"This important study uncovers one of the genes that appears to predispose to type 2 diabetes," said Dr. Scott Grundy, director of UT Southwestern's Center for Human Nutrition and the study's senior author.

In the study available online and scheduled to appear in the April issue of Diabetes, the researchers evaluated a specific gene in three study groups South Asians, South Asians living in Dallas and Caucasians living in Dallas. Some study subjects suffered from type 2 diabetes, others had risk factors for the disease, while still others showed no signs of diabetes or any apparent risk factors.

"The implication from our study is that if a person has this gene variation, then without waiting for the development of insulin resistance he or she should be encouraged to follow lifestyle changes that could help prevent the onset of diabetes," said Dr. Nicola Abate, associate professor of internal medicine in the Center for Human Nutrition and the study's lead author.

Type 2 diabetes has become a serious health problem, particularly in light of the growing number of overweight and obese individuals in the United States, Dr. Abate said. In type 2 diabetes, cells ignore available insulin (insulin resistance) and not enough insulin is produced to maintain plasma glucose within a normal range. While obesity is one of the major risk factors for type 2 diabetes, not all obese people develop type 2 diabetes nor are all type 2 diabetic
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Contact: Donna Steph Hansard
donna.hansard@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
25-Mar-2005


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