Genes and the Environment Can Trigger Diabetes

dnaA new study has speculates that diabetes is a disease that is buried in the human genome and has been around for millions of years. In addition, it can also retreat and emerge based on influences from the environment. Researchers came to these conclusions after looking at how obesity can act as a trigger for Type 2 diabetes. Obesity has the ability to change the chemical tags known as the epigenome.

 

Changes to the epigenome can result in changes with how the genes behave. In addition, the production of proteins that result in the secretion of insulin and are needed for proper metabolism can also change. This results in issues with blood sugar levels.

 

The study was published to the January 6, 2015 edition of the journal Cell Metabolism. The research was done by scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Scientists believe that the findings can explain why Type 2 diabetes is affecting so many people world wide. The researchers also believe that changes to the epigenome are reversible, making it possible to reverse diabetes as well.

 

The researchers examined obesity in mice by raising mice on a high-fat diet in order to turn them obese and diabetic. The analysis of the DNA from their fat cells revealed that mice who grow up to become obese adult mice had experienced changes in the epigenome.

 

The researchers than looked at people that had undergone gastric bypass surgery. They also found that these individuals had changes to the epigenome in their fat cells.

 

As to what actually is causing the change, the researchers believe that the epigenome changes in order to help the body deal with surges in calories. However, if the individual continues to eat a high-calorie diet overtime, the changes to the epigenome can result in disease.

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