Scientists in America have identified a new biomarker for risk of type 2 diabetes.
Research conducted by Thomas J. Wang, director of the Division of Cardiology at the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, and Robert Gerszten and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital found the metabolite 2-aminoadipic acid (2-AAA) can help predict type 2 diabetes risk up to 12 years before its onset.
The study was based on human sampling from the Framingham Heart Study that tracked potentially diabetic people and those that had no potential for type 2 diabetes for 12 years.
During this period, they found that individuals who had higher 2-AAA concentrations were up to four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared with people with lower levels.
The scientists also conducted laboratory studies which showed that giving 2-AAA to mice alters the way they metabolise glucose. The molecules appear to influence the function of the pancreas, which is responsible for producing the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin.
“2-AAA appears to be more than a passive marker. It actually seems to play a role in glucose metabolism,” Wang said.
“It is still a bit early to understand the biological implications of that role, but these experimental data are intriguing in that this molecule could be contributing in some manner to the development of the disease itself.”
The findings are published in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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