A German team from the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen looked at a link between high body mass index (BMI) and changes in gene expressio, and how this might provide early prediction of risk for type 2 diabetes.
The study of 10,000 people focused on the epigenomen, which is the name given to everything that happens on or around the genes.
The findings helped the research team identify ‘epigenetic markers’ which could help early predictions of type 2 diabetes.
During the study blood samples were taken from 10,000 men and women from across Europe. The team identified 207 gene loci, from 5,387 samples which had changed depending on the person’s BMI. They then tested ‘candidate loci’ in blood sample from another 4,874 subjects which enabled the team to confirm 187 of the loci.
The researchers found changes that were related to blood fat metabolism and inflammation. In addition, they found epigenetic markers that the team believe could be used for early prediction of type 2 diabetes.
Lead author Dr Simone Wahl of the Research Unit Molecular Epidemiology (AME) at Helmholtz Zentrum Münche, said: “This issue is particularly relevant because an estimated one and a half billion people throughout the world are overweight.”
Head of the AME Christian Gieger said: “Our results allow new insights into which signaling pathways are influenced by obesity.
“We hope that this will lead to new strategies for predicting and possibly preventing type 2 diabetes and other consequences of being overweight.”
The findings of the study have just been published in the Nature journal.

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