Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New atlas of molecules paves way for improved understanding of metabolic diseases

Date:
May 11, 2014
Source:
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Summary:
A comprehensive study of associations between genetic variation and human metabolism will improve our understanding of the molecular pathways underlying common complex diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researchers have linked 145 genetic regions with more than 400 molecules involved in human metabolism.

A comprehensive study of associations between genetic variation and human metabolism will improve our understanding of the molecular pathways underlying common complex diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have linked 145 genetic regions with more than 400 molecules involved in human metabolism.

In the most comprehensive exploration of the association between genetic variation and human metabolism, researchers have provided unprecedented insights into how genetic variants influence complex disease and drug response through metabolic pathways.

The team has linked 145 genetic regions with more than 400 molecules involved in human metabolism in human blood. This atlas of genetic associations with metabolism provides many new opportunities to understand the molecular pathways underlying associations with common, complex diseases.

Metabolic molecules, known as metabolites, include a wide range of different molecules such as vitamins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleotides. They make up parts of, or are the products of, all biological pathways. This new compendium of associations between genetic regions and metabolite levels provides a powerful tool to identify genes that could be used in drug and diagnostic tests for a wide range of metabolic disorders.

"The sheer wealth of biological information we have uncovered is extraordinary," says Dr Nicole Soranzo, senior author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "It's exciting to think that researchers can now take this freely available information forward to better understand the molecular underpinnings of a vast range of metabolic associations."

The team measured the levels of a large number of metabolites, both those already known and many as yet uncharacterized, from many different metabolic pathways.

They found 90 new genetic associations, trebling the figure of known genetic associations with metabolites. In many of the cases where metabolites were known, the team were able to link the molecule to gene function. They mapped genes to their likely substrates or products and linked these to a number of conditions, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

They further found that these genetic regions map preferentially to genes that are currently targeted in drug-development programs. This provides new opportunities to assess genetic influences on drug response, and to assess the potential for existing drugs to treat a wide range of diseases.

"We developed an open-access database that allows researchers to easily search through the findings, to understand genetic variants associated with metabolism one metabolite at a time and in the context of the complete metabolic network," says Dr Gabi Kastenmüller, co-senior author from the Helmholtz Center Munich, Germany. "This database will facilitate drug discovery for metabolic disorders and also help researchers to understand the biology behind disease."

Other associations suggest tantalising possibilities for further study. For instance, a number of the genetic associations identified involved aromatic acids, such as tryptophan, which are important for brain function. While this study did not measure association of metabolites in the brain, these genetic findings open new avenues to assess potential genetic influences on brain function and responses to drugs that affect brain function, such as antidepressants.

"This work provides an important new window into the genetic variation underlying human metabolism," said Dr Eric Fauman, study co-author and Associate Research Fellow from Pfizer Inc. "Through targeted Precision Medicine and by linking human disease genes to in vivo biological markers, we hope to enhance our ability to deliver impactful new medicines for patients across a variety of disorders."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. So-Youn Shin, Eric B Fauman, Ann-Kristin Petersen, Jan Krumsiek, Rita Santos, Jie Huang, Matthias Arnold, Idil Erte, Vincenzo Forgetta, Tsun-Po Yang, Klaudia Walter, Cristina Menni, Lu Chen, Louella Vasquez, Ana M Valdes, Craig L Hyde, Vicky Wang, Daniel Ziemek, Phoebe Roberts, Li Xi, Elin Grundberg, Melanie Waldenberger, J Brent Richards, Robert P Mohney, Michael V Milburn, Sally L John, Jeff Trimmer, Fabian J Theis, John P Overington, Karsten Suhre, M Julia Brosnan, Christian Gieger, Gabi Kastenmüller, Tim D Spector, Nicole Soranzo. An atlas of genetic influences on human blood metabolites. Nature Genetics, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ng.2982

Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "New atlas of molecules paves way for improved understanding of metabolic diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140511165408.htm>.
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. (2014, May 11). New atlas of molecules paves way for improved understanding of metabolic diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140511165408.htm
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "New atlas of molecules paves way for improved understanding of metabolic diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140511165408.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) — America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. 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