Newly Identified Blood Biomarker Predicts Type 2 Diabetes Years Before Onset

Dec, 2021 - By WMR

Newly Identified Blood Biomarker Predicts Type 2 Diabetes Years Before Onset

A new study suggests blood levels of a specific protein could predict development of type 2 diabetes up to 19 years before the onset.

Type 2 diabetes is increasingly affecting more and more people, with 6% of the global population suffering from the disease.  However, the risk of type 2 diabetes development can be significantly reduced with weight control, proper diet, and exercising and early detection of the symptoms could help to lower health complications associated with the disease. Now a team of scientist from Lund University, Sweden identified a blood biomarker that could predict type 2 diabetes around 19 years before the development of the disease. According to the research published in the journal Nature Communication on November 10, 2021, blood levels of protein called Follistatin could help to assess the future risk of developing the disease.

The scientists analysed data from an ongoing long-term health research, the Malmö Diet and Cancer Cardiovascular Cohort where the team studied levels of follistatin in around 5,000 subjects. It was found that high levels of circulating follistatin were linked to development of type 2 diabetes independent of other risk factors. In earlier studies that were conducted on animal, scientists found that follistatin aggravates insulin resistance and drives fatty tissues to accumulate in the liver. These findings offer a reasonable mechanism that increases the risk of development of type 2 diabetes in a person.

Moreover, the new study also performed a genomic analysis to find out genetic link with high levels of follistatin, and the team found a particular variant in the GCKR gene that was specifically linked to high follistatin levels. According to the researchers, this study demonstrates that follistatin could be a significant biomarker to predict future type 2 diabetes, and the findings also provide a valuable insight on mechanism behind the disease.

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