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

s overweight.

Certain ethnic populations appear to have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, whether overweight or not, particularly South Asians people originating from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The study focused on 679 South Asians living in Chennai, India (of which 223 had type 2 diabetes); 1,083 South Asians living in Dallas who were new immigrants or first-generation immigrants from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh (of which 121 had type 2 diabetes); and 858 nonmigrant Caucasians living in Dallas (of which 141 were type 2 diabetics). All study participants with type 2 diabetes were required to have had diabetes onset before age 60.

All subjects were evaluated for diabetes and family history of diabetes, as well as overall general health, and had blood tests conducted for genetic sampling.

Results showed the presence of the ENPP1 variant in 25 percent of the nondiabetic group and in 34 percent of the diabetic group of South Asians living in India; in 33 percent and 45 percent, respectively, in the nondiabetic and diabetic South Asians in Dallas; and 26 percent and 39 percent, respectively, in the nondiabetic and diabetic Caucasians. The gene ENPP1 encodes a protein that blocks the action of insulin. The genetic variation increases the action of this protein and blocks insulin action even more.

"Earlier studies we conducted showed a propensity toward insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes in South Asians, even when they were thin," Dr. Abate said. "This study expanded that to include diabetic patients and Caucasians of European descent. It also took into account the possible influence of environmental factors by comparing South Asians in both Dallas and in Chennai.

"Consistently, we found that this gene variant in all three groups predicted diabetes."

UT Southwestern researchers plan to expand their studies to other ethnic populations, as well as further examine the specific protein involved, with the hope of eventu
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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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