New biomarker from pre-diabetic individuals may prevent the development of type-II diabetes in the same, says a new study.
Researchers analyzed the blood samples of 40 individuals who participated in the diaBEAT-it program. It is a a long-term study run by multiple researchers in the Fralin Translational Obesity Research Center at Virginia Tech, US. Participants did not have diabetes or cardiovascular disease, but were pre-diabetic and showed signs of insulin resistance.
The main reason behind this was that pre-diabetic people who were considered to be insulin resistant ie, the inability to respond to the insulin hormone effectively also had the altered mitochondrial DNA.
Researchers found that the blood samples of the participants had lower amounts of mitochondrial DNA with a higher amount of methylation. It is a process that can change the expression of genes and mitochondrial copy numbers in cells.
"If the body is insulin resistant, or unable to respond properly to insulin, it could affect a person's mitochondrial function and overall energy levels. Mitochondrial alterations have previously been observed in obese individuals, but this is the first time we've made the molecular link between insulin resistance and mitochondrial DNA changes," said Dr Zhiyong Cheng.
Cheng and collaborator Fabio Almeida believe this link could be important for treating pre-diabetic individuals to prevent Type 2 Diabetes.
"There is no known cure for Type 2 diabetes, and early diagnosis and intervention is critical to prevent this disease. Discovery of the biomarker in obese, pre-diabetic individuals advances our understanding of how diabetes develops and provides evidence important for future diagnosis and intervention," said Almeida. The study was published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics