A genetic variant associated with susceptibility to obesity and diabetes has been reported in a study in the August issue of Nature Genetics.
Philippe Froguel and colleagues conducted a large-scale study, including several thousand individuals with childhood or adult obesity and type II diabetes, to examine the genetic factors predisposing to disease. They identified a gene associated with increased risk of obesity and diabetes. The gene, ENPP1, is involved with the cellular response to insulin, and may interfere with normal insulin induced signals. Higher expression of this protein, as was found in this study amongst children with obesity or diabetes, may mimic the effects of insulin resistance in the brain, where insulin causes appetite suppression.
The authors suggest that inherited increased expression of this protein may exaggerate insulin resistance and contribute to excessive fat accumulation.
Philippe Froguel (Institut Pasteur de Lille, France)
Also published online.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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