Latinos more vulnerable to fatty pancreas, Type 2 diabetes, study shows

September 11, 2012

Latinos are more likely to store fat in the pancreas and are less able to compensate by excreting additional insulin, a Cedars-Sinai study shows.

The research examining overweight, prediabetic patients, published online by , is part of a focus by Cedars-Sinai's Heart Institute, Biomedical Imaging Research Institute and and Obesity Research Institute, to identify biological measures that could help predict which patients are likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

"Prevention of diabetes is our goal," said Richard Bergman, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute and a lead author on the study. "Not all people who are overweight or obese and who have go on to develop diabetes. If we can determine who is most likely to develop diabetes and why, then we can make strides toward preventing it in those individuals."

The study compared white, black and Latino participants, similarly overweight and who shared many of the same prediabetic symptoms. It found that Latinos stored fat in their pancreas, which was less able to produce adequate amounts of insulin as compared with white and black study participants. This may be why Latinos are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

In chronic obesity, the that is designed to store fat begins to malfunction, allowing fat to spill into the pancreas, liver and skeletal muscle. Some individuals may be insulin resistant throughout their lives but never develop diabetes because their pancreas can compensate by secreting more of the metabolism-regulating hormone. In others, the pancreas cannot compensate, placing these individuals at greater risk of Type 2 diabetes.

"One of the reasons some people are at increased risk, we believe, is that fatty pancreas is unable to secrete enough insulin, which results in an individual progressing from impaired to ," said Lidia Szczepaniak, PhD, director of magnetic resonance spectroscopy at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and Research Institute. "In our study, we found Latinos were especially vulnerable, as they tended to store more fat in the pancreas and their compensatory insulin secretion was entirely suppressed."

The Cedars-Sinai research, for which she was principal investigator, included use of a noninvasive medical imaging technique, known as magnetic resonance spectroscopy, to measure the amount of fat in organs.

In the study, Latino, black and white adults completed three research visits, including an oral glucose tolerance test; they took a frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test to evaluate beta-cell function and insulin resistance; and they underwent to evaluate fat levels in the and liver.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the United States. An estimated 79 million Americans are prediabetic. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of heart disease and stroke.

Explore further: New inflammation hormone link may pave way to study new drugs for Type 2 diabetes

Related Stories

New inflammation hormone link may pave way to study new drugs for Type 2 diabetes

May 15, 2012
A new link between obesity and type 2 diabetes found in mice could open the door to exploring new potential drug treatments for diabetes, University of Michigan Health System research has found.

Recommended for you

Personalized blood sugar goals can save diabetes patients thousands

December 11, 2017
A cost analysis by researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine shows treatment plans that set individualized blood sugar goals for diabetes patients, tailored to their age and health history, can save $13,546 in health ...

Kidney disease increases risk of diabetes, study shows

December 11, 2017
Diabetes is known to increase a person's risk of kidney disease. Now, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that the converse also is true: Kidney dysfunction increases the risk of ...

Type 2 diabetes is not for life

December 5, 2017
Almost half of the patients with Type 2 diabetes supported by their GPs on a weight loss programme were able to reverse their diabetes in a year, a study has found.

Skipping breakfast disrupts 'clock genes' that regulate body weight

November 30, 2017
Irregular eating habits such as skipping breakfast are often associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, but the precise impact of meal times on the body's internal clock has been less ...

Type 2 diabetes has hepatic origins

November 28, 2017
Affecting as many as 650 million people worldwide, obesity has become one of the most serious global health issues. Among its detrimental effects, it increases the risk of developing metabolic conditions, and primarily type ...

Critical link between obesity and diabetes has been identified

November 28, 2017
UT Southwestern researchers have identified a major mechanism by which obesity causes type 2 diabetes, which is a common complication of being overweight that afflicts more than 30 million Americans and over 400 million ...

0 comments

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.