Reporter-Sharing stories of Imperial's community. Link between lower birth weight and type 2 diabetes

by Symptom Advice on April 15, 2012

Two gene regions that affect a baby’s size at birth have been uncovered by a large international team of researchers, made up of scientists from several UK and international centres including Imperial. one of the regions is also associated with type 2 diabetes.

The research, published in Nature Genetics, is the first robust evidence that a well-known link between lower birth weight and susceptibility to type 2 diabetes has a genetic component.

The team analysed over 38,000 Europeans from 19 studies of pregnancy and birth. Two genetic variants showed strong associations with birth weight. one of the variants, in a gene called ADCY5, has recently been linked with susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. Individuals who inherit two risk copies of this variant are at a 25 per cent higher risk of diabetes in adulthood than those who inherit two non-risk copies.

Professor Marjo-Riitta Jarvelin, Chair in Lifecourse Epidemiology (Public Health), and one of the leaders of the research, said: “we have, for nearly two decades, tried to discover the factors which may explain why smaller fetal size associates with so many later life chronic conditions such as heart disease…Our own studies have demonstrated that a number of environmental factors influence fetal growth and that some fetuses are more vulnerable to those than the others. I believe that our genetic landmark discoveries will give us opportunity to answer these puzzling questions in the near future.”

— Adapted from a news release issued by the Wellcome Trust

Read the full news story

Tags: Faculty of Medicine, Issue 218, News, Public Health Posted in College, Research | No Comments »

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: