Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists map susceptibility to type 2 diabetes

Date:
December 29, 2011
Source:
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Summary:
New research has provided the first proof of molecular risk factors leading to type 2 diabetes, providing an "early warning" sign that could lead to new approaches to treating this and other human disease conditions.

Research carried out at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has provided the first proof of molecular risk factors leading to type 2 diabetes, providing an "early warning" sign that could lead to new approaches to treating this and other human disease conditions.

Despite extensive research on the molecular basis for the variance in susceptibility between individuals to common diseases, the subject is still poorly understood. A prime example of this is type 2 diabetes (T2D), a very widespread human disorder.

What is it that characterizes the susceptibility to this disease?

Epigenetic variations -- which are small molecular marks superimposed on the DNA structure -- have been frequently hypothesized to modify predisposition, but direct evidence was missing.

Now, a research team led by Dr. Asaf Hellman of the Hebrew University's Institute of Medical Research Israel Canada has developed a novel, multistep, study design involving the analysis of disease-contributing epigenetic variations among hundreds of patients and control individuals.

The research was presented in a scientific conference at the Cambridge University Genomic Center and was recently published in the scientific journal Human Molecular Genetic.

Taking an innovative research direction, the Hebrew University research team decided to map DNA methylation variations rather than DNA sequence variations, as was traditionally done. The team undertook a proof-of-concept study among 1,169 type 2 diabetes patients and non-diabetic controls. The results demonstrated the unique abilities of this novel research approach by revealing a clear-cut, disease-predisposing DNA methylation signature. This is a first report in the scientific literature of epigenetic risk factor for T2D.

DNA methylation is a naturally occurring mechanism used to regulate genes and protect DNA from some types of cleavage. It is one of the regulatory processes that are referred to as epigenetic, in which an alteration in gene expression occurs without a change in the nucleotide sequence of the DNA. Defects in this process cause several types of disease that afflict humans.

The method used by Hellman was developed during postdoctoral training at the Harvard University Medical School. Later, his research students at the Hebrew University, Gidon Tperoff and Dvir Aran, further developed it into an efficient, genome-wide mapping method.

The mapping was carried out on the methylation sites in cooperation with Prof. Benjamin Glaser, head of the Endocrinology and Metabolism Department at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School and a leading researcher of T2D genetics, and with additional key researchers including Professors Jeremy Kark and Yechiel Friedlander from the Braun Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Prof. Julio Wainstein from the Wolfson Medical Center, and Prof. Ephrat Levy-Lahad from the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

This analysis not only revealed, for the first time, a clear-cut epigenetic signature in T2D, telltale methylation signature marks were also shown to appear on the DNA of young individuals who latter developed impaired glucose metabolism, even before the appearance of clinical diabetic manifestations.

These findings shed new light on the mechanism of individual predisposition to T2D and pave the way for the elucidating of similar mechanisms in a long list of common human diseases, including many metabolic, autoimmune and psychiatric disorders.

Given that epigenetic marks are sensitive to a wide range of environmental clues, including diets, chemical exposures, intrauterine environments, and also to therapeutic drugs, these finding may open the way for the development of new prevention and/or intervention epigenetic therapies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. Toperoff, D. Aran, J. D. Kark, M. Rosenberg, T. Dubnikov, B. Nissan, J. Wainstein, Y. Friedlander, E. Levy-Lahad, B. Glaser, A. Hellman. Genome-wide survey reveals predisposing diabetes type 2-related DNA methylation variations in human peripheral blood. Human Molecular Genetics, 2011; 21 (2): 371 DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddr472

Cite This Page:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Scientists map susceptibility to type 2 diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111228134841.htm>.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (2011, December 29). Scientists map susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111228134841.htm
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Scientists map susceptibility to type 2 diabetes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111228134841.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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