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Researchers discover suitable early warning system for type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is an extremely widespread disease that endangers the health of those affected in many ways. Unfortunately, the metabolic disease is often only recognized late. Austrian researchers have now established a clear connection between the glycoprotein afamin and type 2 diabetes. The new findings could help to develop an early warning system for this disease.
More and more diabetics
According to the latest figures, almost every second hospital patient in Germany has diabetes or prediabetes. The metabolic disease is also increasing in other countries. However, it is often discovered late. Austrian researchers have now found that an increased concentration of the glycoprotein afamin is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These findings can further improve prevention.
Clear connection between Afamin and type 2 diabetes
A team led by researcher Florian Kronenberg from the Medical University of Innsbruck has succeeded in establishing a clear connection between Afamin and type 2 diabetes using extensive measurements in well-characterized individuals from several prospective cohort studies.
The connection of Afamin with prediabetes and insulin resistance has also been demonstrated.
This highlights an important functional area of this still relatively unknown multifunctional glycoprotein and underpins its role as a biomarker for type 2 diabetes, the university said.
Independent of known risk parameters
The findings just published in the journal Diabetes Care are based on Afamin measurements carried out directly in Innsbruck and the analysis of data from a total of eight prospective cohort studies as part of an international cooperation.
"Long before the manifestation of type 2 diabetes, high levels of Afamin can be found in the blood. A person whose Afamin concentration is 10 mg / L higher than that of a comparable other person has an approximately 30 percent higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes over the following years, ”reports lead author Barbara Kollerits.
"The remarkable thing is that in addition to age and gender, this prediction is also independent of known risk parameters such as HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, body mass index, high blood pressure, a familial accumulation of diabetes cases, but above all an increased glucose concentration" , says the scientist.
"These results can be considered to be extremely important clinically because they also help to classify them more precisely into risk classes."
Overexpression of Afamin leads to an increase in body weight
The foundation stone for the Afamin research in Innsbruck was originally laid by Hans Dieplinger, who has been targeting the Afamin protein for over 25 years using a variety of research approaches.
"We were able to show earlier with a transgenic mouse model," said Dieplinger, "that overexpression of Afamin leads to an increase in body weight as well as lipids and blood sugar."
With a detection method developed at the section for measuring the afamin concentration and a meta-analysis in several large epidemiological studies, the connection between an elevated afamin concentration and the metabolic syndrome was finally confirmed in humans.
Predicting the development of diabetes
The search for biomarkers that can predict the future development of type 2 diabetes in an individual is a field of intensive research today.
Numerous biomarkers have been described in small studies over the years, but often could not be confirmed subsequently.
The Austrian researchers escape this deficit by analyzing and comparing large population-based studies and the resulting meta-analyzes as well as technologically high-quality laboratory equipment, which offers a particular advantage for the rapid processing of very large data sets.
With the compilation of data from more than 20,000 people from eight prospective epidemiological studies and the associated Afamin measurements carried out in Innsbruck, sufficient usable biomaterial was finally available.
"From this large cross-section of the population and the subsequent follow-up observations, we were finally able to achieve a replicable and valid result that clearly demonstrates the relationship between increased Afamin concentrations and the occurrence of type 2 diabetes and qualifies us for risk assessment", Kronenberg describes the Extensive knowledge that, given the increasing prevalence of diabetes worldwide, could also be of particular importance for an improved prognosis of this disease.
In any case, the results of the Innsbruck team form a promising basis for future Afamin research. (ad)