This gene predisposes people to diabetes, low BMI

New York: Researchers found that a well-known gene variant linked to Type-2 diabetes may also predispose individuals to being leaner or having a lower body weight.

The findings on the gene TCF7L2 are striking because many individuals with Type-2 diabetes are obese. But individuals with this gene variant may be at risk for Type-2 diabetes even while maintaining a low body weight.

“The counterintuitive discovery that some people are predisposed to both being thin and developing Type-2 diabetes refocuses our attention on the need to collect data in diverse populations and across time,” said Kari North, Professor at the University of North Carolina, US.

For the study, published in the journal BMC Obesity, the team used population-based study data from more than 9,000 Hispanic Latino adults, aged 21 to 76 years.

Using complex modelling, researchers looked at the impact of a specific complex gene variant on changes in body mass index (BMI) and then estimated the odds of Type-2 diabetes across time.

The researchers noted that the gene TCF7L2 is not routinely screened for in clinical practice.

In the future, the study will help scientists use genetic information to understand the causes of diabetes and obesity and their relationship with each other.

This can lead to personalisation in medication and help clinicians offer better treatment and advice on adopting healthy lifestyles.