Mayo Clinic Researchers ID Completely Novel Mechanism for Predisposition to Type 2 Diabetes; Understanding Glucagon-Suppressing Effect of TCF7L2 Gene Variant May Lead to Novel Therapies

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, together with colleagues from the Universita’ di Padova in Italy, have discovered an unexpected effect from a gene already known to increase diabetes risk. The scientists had assumed that the specific allele in the gene TCF7L2 that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, impairs insulin production in response to increased insulin resistance. Some slight evidence of that was found in the current Mayo Clinic study, but more significantly, the researchers discovered that this variant impaired a person’s ability to balance blood sugar (glucose) by suppressing glucagon – the hormone that raises the level of glucose in the bloodstream. The findings were published online on November 2, 2015, in the journal Diabetes. The article is titled “TCF7L2 Genotype and α-Cell Function in Nondiabetic Humans.” “This was surprising. It demonstrates a completely novel mechanism of predisposition to diabetes that could lead to novel therapies,” says Adrian Vella, M.D., Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and senior author of the study. “Ultimately, this sheds new light on how this gene actually predisposes to diabetes.” Dr. Vella notes that more-detailed clinical studies need to be done to confirm the finding, as well as to better understand how this affects diabetes in more heterogeneous populations over the long term. [Mayo Clinic press release] [Diabetes abstract]
Login Or Register To Read Full Story