An "Obesity Gene" May Decrease Diabetes Risk
A mutated gene that increases the chances of obesity could also lower the risk of diabetes, despite the proven link between the two conditions, a study has shown.
Researchers at the Oxford BioBank in the UK measured insulin resistance, which is associated with obesity. They found that the subjects who had a mutation in the phosphate and tensin homologue (PTEN) gene had a low level of insulin resistance but were more likely to be obese.
A high level of insulin resistance is associated with pre-diabetes, which almost inevitably leads to diabetes.
The link between diabetes and obesity has long been accepted, and this is the first study to show that there isn’t a connection in all cases. In an article accompanying the study’s publication in the “New England Journal of Medicine,” Ulf Smith, MD, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, said the research had “both expected and unexpected results.”
The findings may have implications for treatment of type 2 diabetes, since physicians may be unaware that trying to reduce the action of the PTEN gene could make the illness worse.