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Gene Linked to Traits in Diabetes Discovered

Researchers in Wisconsin recently announced the discovery of a gene which could help explain certain traits seen in patients diagnosed with diabetes.

Researchers in Wisconsin recently announced the discovery of a gene which could help explain certain traits seen in patients diagnosed with diabetes.

The team, from the Medical College of Wisconsin published their findings in Genetics after studying the gene’s impact on fasting glucose and insulin levels in not only humans but also rats and mice. A statement from the facility identified the gene as Tpcn2, “in which a variant was associated with fasting glucose levels in a rat model.”

According to the statement, Tpcn2 is “a lysosomal calcium channel that likely plays a role in insulin signaling.”

“Genome-wide association studies in humans have identified 60+ genes linked to type 2 diabetes; however, these genes explain only a small portion of heritability in diabetes studies,” said study leader Leah Solberg Woods, PhD, an associate professor of pediatrics at the college and a researcher at the Children’s

Hospital of Wisconsin Research Institute. “As we continue to identify genes and variants of interest, we will evaluate them in multiple models to understand the mechanism of disease.”

The statement from the school cited statistics from the American Diabetes Association noting nearly 29 million Americans, or more than 9% of the population have been diagnosed with diabetes.

In their study writeup, the authors reported they found that two variants were “significantly associated with fasting glucose levels, including a nonsynonymous coding variant within Tpcn2. Studies in Tpcn2 knockout mice demonstrated a significant decrease in fasting glucose levels and insulin response to a glucose challenge relative to those in wild-type mice. Finally, we identified variants within Tpcn2 that are associated with fasting insulin in humans. These studies indicate that Tpcn2 is a likely causal gene that may play a role in human diabetes and demonstrate the utility of multiparental populations for positionally cloning genes within complex loci.”