Body weight affects alternative splicing, could increase risk of type 2 diabetes

Kurt Wood
Mon, 01 Jun 2015
Body weight affects alternative splicing, could increase risk of type 2 diabetes
Body weight can affect the alternative splicing patterns of a number of genes linked to type 2 diabetes, according to new research. The findings could lead to improved treatments for type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Alternative splicing is a process in which DNA codes for more than one protein. When the process is disrupted, it often results in genetic disorders. Diseases commonly occur alongside strange variations in alternative splicing.

This study, which was conducted at the Department of Clinical Nutrition of the University of Eastern Finland, found that obesity alters the splicing pattern of the genes TCF7L2 and INSR, which can cause inhibited insulin action. As a result, the risk of type 2 diabetes increases. But the changes to the splicing patterns can be reversed through dietary changes or bariatric surgery.

The researchers also found other genes that were regulated by body weight, including MSH5 in the subcutaneous fat. BMI was also linked to the splicing patterns of TRA2B and BAG6.

By understanding how the process of alternative splicing can be affected by body weight, the researchers could potentially develop new and more effective treatments for obesity and type 2 diabetes, or at least improve diagnostic methods.

The research was presented by Dorota Kaminska, MSc, as part of her doctoral dissertation. The findings were originally published in the journals Diabetes, Diabetologia, and Adipocyte.
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