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Coping And Copulation Behavior May Help Calculate Diabetes Risk, Mouse Study Suggests

Date:
November 6, 2008
Source:
The Company of Biologists
Summary:
Researchers use two species of deer mice to study diabetes, and find that males of a calmer and more monogamous species regulate blood sugar better than males of a less calm and less monogamous species when subject to stress.
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Discussion of a man's background, attitude, and sexual history isn't just the fodder of Sex and The City episodes – in the future, it could also be a way of evaluating his risk of diabetes.

Risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome is determined by an individual's genetic background. Since this background has in turn been influenced by environment and behavior, it's important to consider these factors when assessing disease risk. While scientists have learned a lot about human disease through research in traditional laboratory mice, there are limits in studying genetic variation since controlled breeding and diet introduces artificially influences.

In order to study diabetes risk in a more naturally genetically diverse animal, Roxanne Oriel, Paul Vrana and colleagues studied glucose tolerance, a test often used to diagnose diabetes and metabolic syndrome, in a type of field mouse native to North America. As reported in their new study published in Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM), dmm.biologists.org, they specifically chose two species of Peromyscus that are closely genetically related, but differ significantly in their behavioral traits and native environment.

During their tests, they discovered that merely handling the male mice and subjecting them to a placebo test – where glucose was replaced with saline – resulted in significant differences in blood sugar levels. Males of a calmer, more monogamous species had a higher level of stress hormones and a superior ability to regulate blood sugar, in comparison to males of a less calm, less monogamous species, or females of either species. In combination with studies with male mice bred to have only swapped "male" Y chromosomes, their study shows that a genetic variance linked to the Y chromosome is responsible for the species-specific responses of the males to stress.

Since previous studies of non-human primates by other research groups demonstrates a link between stress hormone levels and monogamy, the UC Irvine group propose that superior stress tolerance and blood sugar regulation is related to monogamy in these mice. Their work not only supports the study of mice with a more natural genetic background, but also points to the importance of considering gene-environment interactions, as well as behavior, when calculating risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other common diseases.

The report was written Roxanne C. Oriel, Christopher D. Wiley, and Paul B. Vrana of the University of California Irvine School of Medicine in Irvine, California, and Michael J. Dewey of the Peromyscus Genetic Stock Center at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. The report is published in the November/December issue of a new research journal, Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM), published by The Company of Biologists, a non-profit based in Cambridge, UK.


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Materials provided by The Company of Biologists. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

The Company of Biologists. "Coping And Copulation Behavior May Help Calculate Diabetes Risk, Mouse Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081106064352.htm>.
The Company of Biologists. (2008, November 6). Coping And Copulation Behavior May Help Calculate Diabetes Risk, Mouse Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081106064352.htm
The Company of Biologists. "Coping And Copulation Behavior May Help Calculate Diabetes Risk, Mouse Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081106064352.htm (accessed May 28, 2024).

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