Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Metabolite levels may be able to improve diabetes risk prediction

Date:
March 22, 2011
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
Measuring the levels of small molecules in the blood may be able to identify individuals at elevated risk of developing Type 2 diabetes as much as a decade before symptoms of the disorder appear.

Measuring the levels of small molecules in the blood may be able to identify individuals at elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes as much as a decade before symptoms of the disorder appear. In a report receiving advance online release in Nature Medicine, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers describes finding that levels of five amino acids not only indicated increased diabetes risk in a general population but also could differentiate, among individuals with traditional risk factors such as obesity, those most likely to actually develop diabetes.

"These findings could provide insight into metabolic pathways that are altered very early in the process leading to diabetes," says lead author Thomas Wang, MD, of the MGH Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC) and Division of Cardiology. "They also raise the possibility that, in selected individuals, these measurements could identify those at highest risk of developing diabetes so that early preventive measures could be instituted."

New technologies to measure levels of metabolites -- small molecules produced by metabolic activities and released into the bloodstream -- are giving investigators increased insight into an individual's metabolic status. Since the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes marks the culmination of a years-long breakdown of the body's system for metabolizing glucose, the ability to detect that breakdown at a stage when lifestyle changes could halt the process may significantly reduce the incidence of the disease. Known risk factors such as obesity and elevated glucose levels often signify that diabetes actually is present, so earlier identification of at-risk individuals is critical to more effective preventive measures, the authors note.

Some earlier studies had found elevated levels of certain amino acids in individuals who are obese or have insulin resistance, a condition that precedes full-blown type 2 diabetes. But no previous study examined whether levels of these or other metabolites predicted the future development of diabetes in currently healthy individuals. The current study began with an analysis of data from the Framingham Offspring Study, which follows a group of adult children of participants in the original Framingham Heart Study. Out of 2,400 study participants who entered the study in 1991 and 1995, about 200 developed type 2 diabetes during the following 12 years. Using the baseline blood samples, the research team measured levels of 61 metabolites in 189 participants who later developed diabetes and 189 others -- matched for age, sex and diabetes risk factors such as obesity and fasting glucose levels -- who remained diabetes free.

This analysis found that elevations in five amino acids -- isoleucine, leucine, valine, tyrosine and phenylalanine -- were significantly associated with the later development of type 2 diabetes. Several of these amino acids were the same ones found in smaller studies to be elevated in individuals with obesity or insulin resistance, and other evidence has suggested they may directly affect glucose regulation. The association of levels of these five amino acids with future diabetes development was replicated in 326 participants in the Malmo Diet and Cancer Study.

The investigators then found that measuring combinations of several metabolites, as opposed to a single amino acid, improved risk prediction. Overall, in individuals closely matched for traditional risk factors for type 2 diabetes, those with the highest levels of the three most predictive amino acids had a four to five times greater risk of developing diabetes than did those with the lowest levels.

"Several groups have suggested that these amino acids can aberrantly activate an important metabolic pathway involved in cellular growth or can somehow poison the mitochondria that provide cellular energy," says Robert Gerszten, MD, director of Clinical and Translational Research for the MGH Heart Center, the paper's senior author. "From a clinical perspective, we need to see if these markers, which we found using data from only about 1,000 individuals, do identify truly high-risk individuals who should be triaged to early preventive treatment and intensive lifestyle interventions. Additional basic investigations can reveal if these metabolites play a role in the process leading to diabetes and if there are ways we can stop the damage." Gerszten and Wang are both associate professors of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

These studies were performed in close collaboration with Clary Clish, PhD, director of Metabolite Profiling of the Broad Institute. Additional co-authors of the Nature Medicine report are Susan Cheng, MD, Elizabeth McCabe, MS, and Gregory Lewis, MD, MGH Cardiology; Eugene Rhee, MD, MGH Renal Unit; Vamsi Mootha, MD, and Jose Florez, MD, PhD, MGH Center for Human Genetic Research and the Broad Institute; Martin Larson, ScD, Ramachandran Vasan, MD, Christopher O'Donnell,MD, and Caroline Fox, MD, MPH, Framingham Heart Study; Paul Jacques, DSc, Tufts University; Celine Fernandez and Olle Melander, MD, PhD, Lund University, Malmo, Sweden; and Stephen Carr, PhD, and Amanda Souza, Broad Institute..

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Leducq Foundation, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, and the American Heart Association. The Framingham Heart Study of the National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Boston University is supported by a contract from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Thomas J Wang, Martin G Larson, Ramachandran S Vasan, Susan Cheng, Eugene P Rhee, Elizabeth McCabe, Gregory D Lewis, Caroline S Fox, Paul F Jacques, Cιline Fernandez, Christopher J O'Donnell, Stephen A Carr, Vamsi K Mootha, Jose C Florez, Amanda Souza, Olle Melander, Clary B Clish, Robert E Gerszten. Metabolite profiles and the risk of developing diabetes. Nature Medicine, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nm.2307

Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "Metabolite levels may be able to improve diabetes risk prediction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110320164238.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2011, March 22). Metabolite levels may be able to improve diabetes risk prediction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110320164238.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "Metabolite levels may be able to improve diabetes risk prediction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110320164238.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) — Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins