Eric Brunner from the Royal Free and University College London Medical School, London, and colleagues, examine the association between levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood, and the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Previous research has suggested that raised levels of this marker are linked with an increased risk of diabetes but to date it has not been clear whether C-reactive protein actually causes the condition.
Brunner and colleagues use a technique called Mendelian randomization to control for the effect of other variables (such as obesity, blood pressure, and socio-economic position) which might play a role in the development of diabetes.
The researchers show that levels of C-reactive protein in the blood are not likely to cause diabetes.
In a related Perspective, Bernard Keavney from the University of Newcastle – who was not involved in the research – discusses the significance of the findings, commenting that technical advances in gene sequencing will, in future, make it easier to carry out such studies.
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