DNA variant affects diabetes risk and treatment response

May 17, 2013

A DNA variant near a digestive enzyme does not only affect risk of developing diabetes but also affects the response to treatment, an international consortium of researchers including the University of Dundee has found.

The study found that healthy volunteers with this DNA variant had an up to forty percent higher insulin response after stimulation with the hormone GLP-1, a likely explanation as to why they have a reduced chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

"It was already known that subjects carrying this variant have a reduced chance of developing type 2 diabetes," according to Dutch scientist Dr Leen 't Hart from Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands, who is the lead author on the paper. "What we have been able to show is why they are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes

GLP-1 (-like peptide-1) is a hormone that is produced by the gut in response to a meal. One of its functions is to stimulate from the pancreas so that the elevated after a meal rapidly return to normal.

While the patients with the DNA variant were shown to be less likely to develop , it was also found that they actually respond worse to treatment with a novel class of drugs that improve GLP-1 function, called DPP4-inhibitors. These drugs, such as Sitagliptin and Vildagliptin, are being increasingly used to treat diabetes. It is not yet known how the DNA variant affects response to these drugs but researchers said it might be due to the observed increased activity of chymotrypsin in the intestines.

The research study was carried out by a consortium of researchers from the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom and the results are published in the scientific journal Diabetes.

Professor Ewan Pearson, of the University of Dundee, said, "These novel findings provide new clues to better and treatment. This will be the subject of future experiments aiming to personalise treatment of diabetes, which is targeting specific treatments to an individual based upon his or her genetic features."

Explore further: Research reveals hormone action that could lead to treatments for type 2 diabetes

Related Stories

Importance of diabetes genetic variants unclear

April 4, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Genetic variants associated with type 2 diabetes that affect glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) are not associated with GLP-1 levels or GLP-1-induced insulin secretion in healthy individuals, according to a study ...

New clues in hunt for heredity in type 2 diabetes

March 19, 2013

Type 2 diabetes has strong hereditary tendencies and the genes we are born with cannot be changed. However, new research from Lund University in Sweden shows that we can modify the function of the genes through the epigenetic ...

Recommended for you

How does friendly fire happen in the pancreas?

October 21, 2016

In type 1 diabetes, the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells. Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Diabetes Research, and their colleagues at Technical University of Munich have ...

Diabetes opens floodgates to fructose

October 11, 2016

Fructose, once seen as diabetics' alternative to glucose, is fast-tracked to the liver in diabetic mice and contributes to metabolic diseases, according to new research from Harvard University.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity—what do we really know?

October 6, 2016

Social and economic factors have led to a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world. In a review in Science, Mark McCarthy, professor at the University of Oxford, UK, and Paul Franks, professor at Lund ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.