New Diabetes Studies Provide Insight into Biology of the Disease

The identification of new genetic markers and variants that are related to type 2 diabetes may lead to new diagnostic and treatment options.

Two recently completed studies have identified new Type 2 diabetes genetic markers and variants that may help researchers further understand the biology of the disease and develop new methods for diagnosis.

In the first study, researchers found 16 loci in patients that were “associated with fasting glucose and HOMA-B and two loci associated with fasting insulin and HOMA-IR,” according to an article on the study that was published in Nature. “These include nine loci newly associated with fasting glucose (in or near ADCY5, MADD, ADRA2A, CRY2, FADS1, GLIS3, SLC2A2, PROX1 and C2CD4B) and one influencing fasting insulin and HOMA-IR (near IGF1).” These findings show that “genetic studies of glycemic traits can identify type 2 diabetes risk loci, as well as loci containing gene variants that are associated with a modest elevation in glucose levels but are not associated with overt diabetes,” according to an article on the study that was published in Nature.

The second study identified three new genetic variants related to elevated levels of insulin that are seen in a common test for Type 2 diabetes. According to a second Nature article about the study, the team identified variants “at the GIPR locus associated with 2-h glucose level (rs10423928, β (s.e.m.) = 0.09 (0.01) mmol/l per A allele, P = 2.0 × 10-15).” The GIPR A-allele carriers that were identified “also showed decreased insulin secretion (n = 22,492; insulinogenic index, P = 1.0 × 10-17; ratio of insulin to glucose area under the curve, P = 1.3 × 10-16) and diminished incretin effect (n = 804; P = 4.3 × 10-4). We also identified variants at ADCY5 (rs2877716, P = 4.2 × 10-16), VPS13C (rs17271305, P = 4.1 × 10-8), GCKR (rs1260326, P = 7.1 × 10-11) and TCF7L2 (rs7903146, P = 4.2 × 10-10) associated with 2-h glucose.”

Both studies were performed by the Meta-Analyses of Glucose and Insulin-related Traits Consortium, a group that includes members from more than 100 institutions. Participating countries included the US, France, Switzerland, the UK, Germany, and more.