Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mutation in fat-storage gene appears to increase type 2 diabetes risk

Date:
May 22, 2014
Source:
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Summary:
A mutation in a fat-storage gene has been identified that appears to increase the risk for type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders, according to a study. Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease whose susceptibility is often determined by interactions between genetics and lifestyle factors, such as overeating and physical inactivity. Susceptibility genes for diabetes may be involved in several different metabolic pathways in the body, including storage and release of fat for energy.

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have identified a mutation in a fat-storage gene that appears to increase the risk for type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders, according to a study published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers discovered the mutation in the hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) gene by studying the DNA of more than 2,700 people in the Old Order Amish community in Lancaster County, Pa. HSL is a key enzyme involved in breaking down stored fat (triglycerides) into fatty acids, thereby releasing energy for use by other cells.

"We found that Amish people with this mutation have defects in fat storage, increased fat in the liver, high triglycerides, low "good" (HDL) cholesterol, insulin resistance and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes," says the study's senior author, Coleen M. Damcott, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition and member of the Program for Personalized and Genomic Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

In this study, 5.1 percent of the Old Order Amish study participants had at least one copy of the mutation. Four people had two copies of the mutation and consequently produced no HSL enzyme, Dr. Damcott says. The mutation is less common in non-Amish Caucasians of European descent (0.2%), thus the higher prevalence of the mutation in the Amish makes it possible to characterize its full range of effects.

"Future studies of this gene will allow us to look more closely at the effects of its deficiency on human metabolism to better understand the function of the HSL protein and its impact on fat and glucose metabolism," Dr. Damcott says. "These studies will also examine the potential of using HSL as a drug target for treating type 2 diabetes and related complications."

She notes that type 2 diabetes is a complex disease whose susceptibility is often determined by interactions between genetics and lifestyle factors, such as overeating and physical inactivity. Susceptibility genes for diabetes may be involved in several different metabolic pathways in the body, including storage and release of fat for energy.

"Discovery of this mutation adds to the growing list of insights gained from genomic studies that can be used to develop new treatments and customize existing treatments for type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders," Dr. Damcott says.

E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says, "This discovery offers intriguing new evidence of how genetics may play a role in how people develop type 2 diabetes and provides a possible target for medical intervention. Through our Program for Personalized and Genomic Medicine, we are always striving to devise effective therapies to fit an individual's genetic make-up."

Study co-author Alan R. Shuldiner, M.D., the John L. Whitehurst Endowed Professor of Medicine, associate dean for personalized medicine and director of the Program for Personalized and Genomic Medicine, and his colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have previously identified a number of susceptibility genes for diabetes as well as for obesity, high blood pressure and other complex diseases. In 2008, they discovered a novel gene mutation among the Old Order Amish population that significantly reduces the level of triglycerides in the blood and appears to help prevent cardiovascular disease. In 2010, they discovered a common gene variant that predicts efficacy of the common anti-platelet medication, clopidogrel (Plavix®).

Dr. Shuldiner's team has been conducting genetic research with the Old Order Amish in Pennsylvania since the early 1990s.

The Old Order Amish are ideal for genetic studies because they are a genetically homogenous population tracing their ancestry back 14 generations to a small group that came to Pennsylvania from Europe in the mid-1700s.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Albert J.S., Yerges-Armstrong L.M., Horenstein R.B., et al. Null Mutation in Hormone-Sensitive Lipase Gene and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes. NEJM, May 2014 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1315496

Cite This Page:

University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Mutation in fat-storage gene appears to increase type 2 diabetes risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522104706.htm>.
University of Maryland School of Medicine. (2014, May 22). Mutation in fat-storage gene appears to increase type 2 diabetes risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522104706.htm
University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Mutation in fat-storage gene appears to increase type 2 diabetes risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522104706.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