Their findings indicated that a variation in the gene ENPP1 was as much as 13 percent more common in people with type 2 diabetes and those at greater risk for the disease. The gene ENPP1 encodes a protein that blocks the action of insulin.
"This important study uncovers one of the genes that appears to predispose to type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Scott Grundy, director of UT Southwestern's Center for Human Nutrition and the study's senior author.
In the study, the researchers evaluated a specific gene in three study groups - South Asians, South Asians living in Dallas and Caucasians living in Dallas. Some study subjects suffered from type 2 diabetes, others had risk factors for the disease, while still others showed no signs of diabetes or any apparent risk factors.
"The implication from our study is that if a person has this gene variation, then - without waiting for the development of insulin resistance - he or she should be encouraged to follow lifestyle changes that could help prevent the onset of diabetes,” said Dr. Nicola Abate, associate professor of internal medicine in the Center for Human Nutrition and the study's lead author.
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.
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.
Dr. Abate and his associates have demonstrated that this gene's effects on insulin resistance have biological significance in that its abnormalities make it more likely that people will develop diabetes,” Dr. Grundy said.
MEDICA.de; Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center