People with blood groups A, B and AB are at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes than people with blood group O, demonstrates a new study.
The study of more than 80,000 women has uncovered different risks of developing type 2 diabetes associated with different blood groups, with the biggest difference a 35 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes found in those with group B, Rhesus factor positive (R+) blood compared with the universal donor group O, Rhesus factor negative (R-).
Dr Guy Fagherazzi and his colleagues took data from 82,104 women from the large prospective E3N cohort in France followed between 1990 and 2008. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship of ABO blood type (A, B, AB and O), Rhesus factor (positive or negative) and a combination of the two (ABOxRhesus) with type 2 diabetes (T2D).
The results showed that, compared with women with group O blood, women with group A were 10 percent more likely to develop T2D, and those with group B 21 percent more likely (both statistically significant). The AB group was 17 percent more likely to develop T2D, but this result was not statistically significant. When looking solely at R+ versus R- women, neither group was at increased risk of developing T2D compared with the other.
Fagherazzi said that the present study shows for the first time in a large prospective cohort that specific ABO blood groups are associated with an increased type 2 diabetes risk.
Fagherazzi concludes that their findings support a strong relationship between blood group and diabetes risk, with participants with the O blood type having a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Therefore, the effects of blood groups should be investigated in future clinical and epidemiological studies on diabetes. Further pathophysiological research is also needed to determine why the individuals with blood type O have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
The study is published in Diabetologia, the journal of The European Association for the Study of Diabetes.