1. Blame your genes for triggering age-related obesity, diabetes

Blame your genes for triggering age-related obesity, diabetes

You can put the blame on your genes for that extra padding on your body, claims a new research.

By: | Published: July 14, 2015 2:34 PM

You can put the blame on your genes for that extra padding on your body, claims a new research.

Researchers have shown that two different mutations in a gene called ankyrin-B cause cells to suck up glucose faster than normal, fattening them up and eventually triggering the type of diabetes linked to obesity.

The more severe of the two mutations, called R1788W, is carried by nearly one million Americans. The milder mutation, known as L1622I, is shared by seven percent of the African American population and is about as common as the trait for sickle cell anemia.

The findings could help identify at-risk individuals who might be able to tip the scales back in their favor by eating better and exercising more.

This was one of the first examples of a susceptibility gene that would only be manifested through a modern lifestyle, said Vann Bennett, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study at Duke University School of Medicine.

Bennett also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, discovered ankyrin-B more than thirty years ago. He found that ankyrin-B acts as a kind of protein anchor, tethering important proteins to the inside of the cell’s plasma membrane. Since his initial discovery, Bennett and other researchers have implicated defects in ankyrin-B in a wide variety of human afflictions, including irregular heartbeat, autism, muscular dystrophy, aging, and, more recently, diabetes.

Lorenzo, lead author of the study said that if people with these mutations were detected early enough, they become prime candidates for intervention with personalised therapies. That might involve specific strategies to manage their deficits in insulin secretion, as well as adhering to a normal diet and an active lifestyle, with the hope that they could avoid the metabolic diseases that could severely impair their quality of life.

The results are published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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