DNA variant affects diabetes risk and treatment response

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."

Related Stories

Importance of diabetes genetic variants unclear

Apr 04, 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 ...

Recommended for you

Magnesium cuts diabetes risk

Oct 20, 2014

Getting enough magnesium in the diet may reduce the risk of diabetes, especially for those who already show signs of heading that way.

Personalised treatment for stress-related diabetes

Oct 14, 2014

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden are testing a treatment for type 2 diabetes which targets the disease mechanism itself - and not just the symptoms. For the first time, knowledge about the individual patient's genetic ...

Sensors to simplify diabetes management

Oct 13, 2014

For many patients diagnosed with diabetes, treating the disease can mean a burdensome and uncomfortable lifelong routine of monitoring blood sugar levels and injecting the insulin that their bodies don't ...

User comments