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Potential genetic links discovered between metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Chevy Chase, MD, December 23, 2003 Specific genetic markers may influence whether a person develops metabolic syndrome--a collection of health risks that increase the chance of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes--according to new research published this month in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM). A second study, which will also be published in the December issue of JCEM, also points to a link between Cushing's syndrome, a disease caused by overexposure to the hormone cortisol, and type 2 diabetes. The findings from the two new studies may help doctors identify patients who are at risk for developing complications related to obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that metabolic syndrome affects 47 million Americans. Previous research has shown that the symptoms of metabolic syndrome are common among family members, yet a definitive genetic link has never been proven. In a new study, however, researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, demonstrate the existence of genetic regions that may signal a predisposition to metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Claude Bouchard and his colleagues analyzed 509 genetic markers to scan the whole genome of 456 white participants from 99 families and 217 black participants from 105 families who were part of the HERITAGE Family Study. All participants were between the ages of 17 and 65 years. The researchers specifically looked for genomic regions harboring genes that could influence metabolic syndrome. They found evidence of genetic linkages to metabolic syndrome in both black and white patients. Additionally, Dr. Bouchard and his team noted that the same chromosomal regions that they identified with metabolic syndrome have previously been linked with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes risk factors.

"Our research shows a genetic link, contributing to the clustering in fami
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Contact: Marisa Lavine
mlavine@endo-society.org
301-941-0255
The Endocrine Society & The Hormone Foundation
23-Dec-2003


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