The current study aimed to identify metabolites in blood which provide insight into the pathomechanisms of type 2 diabetes and in addition can be used as biomarkers to determine the disease risk. Metabolites have quite diverse functions, as they play a role in cellular communication and regulation, transport energy or are building material for the cell. Changes in their concentration may therefore directly reflect alterations in metabolism and shed light on the pathogenesis or presence of disease.
The research team identified 14 metabolites that may be connected to diabetes type 2. Anna Floegel, lead author of the study, said that, beside simple sugars, they “include various protein components and choline-containing phospholipids which play a role in the structure of cell membranes and in the transport of blood lipids. Our findings particularly indicate a previously unknown role of phospholipids in type 2 diabetes development. This is a first clue which should definitely be pursued.”
Tobias Pischon, who led the study, added: “At the same time the metabolites can also be used as biomarkers to precisely determine the risk of diabetes at a very early stage, since the study is based on prospective data, that is data that were collected before the onset of the disease. The results of the new metabolomic analysis thus provide a good basis for developing new treatment and prevention methods."
The researchers studied a total of 4,000 blood samples. At the time the blood sample was taken, all of the study participants were healthy. However, during the average follow-up time of seven years, 891 study participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
MEDICA.de; Source: German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke