Blood gene test predicts diabetes sugar control

A gene expression profile could be used to predict how easy it will be to control someone's blood glucose in Type 1 diabetes, according to a small study carried out in Australia. Good glycemic control is vital for avoiding, or at least delaying, some of the unpleasant or life-threatening outcomes linked with long-term diabetes.

The study looked at the expression of 9 genes in peripheral blood monocytes (types of immune cells) in a small group of children and adults who had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes around three months before, and compared these with healthy people. The gene profiles could be divided into two groups--those that were similar to healthy people and those that were very different.

People who had high HbA1c levels (a measure of poor blood glucose control) and their close relative tended to have gene expression profiles that were very different from those in healthy people.

"A peripheral blood gene expression signature correlates with glycemic control in the first year after diabetes diagnosis and is present in at-risk subjects," Katharine Irvine from the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in Brisbane concluded.

Knowing who might be at risk of developing diabetes, and also knowing who is more likely to have problems controlling his or her blood glucose would be important for physicians, as these individuals could be screened more closely and given tailored treatment regimens.

In an unrelated study, a researcher at Stanford University has had his own 'omics' (genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and immunomics) profiles watched for 14 months. With his colleagues, he spotted his own genetic biomarkers for diabetes, and then watched his cell profiles change as he developed Type 2 diabetes and responded to viral infections.

- read the press release on diabetes
- see the abstract in Diabetes
- check out the press release on 'omics'