Type 2 diabetes may share genetic links with cardiovascular disease

Thu, 06 Nov 2014
New research suggests that type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease share genetic underpinnings.

The study, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, analysed the genomics of more than 15,000 women. It was discovered that the diseases share eight molecular pathways and a number of "key driver" genes that orchestrate gene networks.

The eight molecular pathways in questions regulate cell adhesion within tissues, axon guidance (how neurons find their paths to connect with target sites), extra-cellular matrix (structural support within tissue), calcium signalling (how cells communicate), and forms of cardiomyopathy (heart muscle problems).

Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease often occur simultaneously, and this study suggests that the relation may exist at a genetic level. This could lead to a common treatment for both diseases.

"Looking at genes one by one is standard," said Dr. Simin Liu, professor of epidemiology and medicine in the Brown University School of Public Health, and a co-senior author of the study. "But ultimately, the interactions of biology are fundamentally organized in a pathway and network manner."

Cardiovascular disease refers to a number of conditions affecting the structures or function of the heart, including coronary artery disease (narrowing of the arteries), heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, and vascular disease. In conjunction with type 2 diabetes, it increases the risk of obesity. It is essential that diabetes patients remain aware of the symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
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