A dysfunction in a single gene could lead to fasting hyperglycemia- one of the major symptoms of type 2 diabetes, researchers have found.
Lead author Bellur S. Prabhakar, professor and head of microbiology and immunology at UIC, said that if a gene called MADD is not functioning properly, insulin is not released into the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar levels.
Small genetic variations found among thousands of human subjects revealed that a mutation in MADD was strongly associated with type 2 diabetes in Europeans and Han Chinese.
To study the role of MADD in diabetes, Prabhakar and his team developed a mouse model in which the MADD gene was deleted from the insulin-producing beta cells. All such mice had elevated blood glucose levels, which the researchers found was due to insufficient release of insulin.
The finding shows that type 2 diabetes can be directly caused by the loss of a properly functioning MADD gene alone, Prabhakar said. "Without the gene, insulin can't leave the beta cells, and blood glucose levels are chronically high."
The findings have been reported online in the journal Diabetes.