Link To Brain Found In Diabetes, Hope For New Treatment


NEW DELHI – Diabetes, traditionally linked to a rise in blood sugar level due to a combination of lifestyle and hereditary risks, may also have some connection with the brain.

In a mega study, a team of Indian scientists have discovered a neurological link to Type II diabetes (T2D), a finding that could open new pathways for treatment of the ailment.

In doing so, 37 scientists led by Dwaipayan Bhardwaj of CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and Nikhil Tandon of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) also achieved a first of sorts when the research team studied two ethnic populations, including Indo-Europeans and Dravidians , to learn more about diabetes.

“We have identified a new locus associated with T2D. It harbours genes—TMEM 163, RAB3GAP1 and ACMSDIwhich are involved in neurologic processes , suggesting a neurologic component in T2D,” said the scientists reporting their findings in Diabetes journal of the American Diabetes Association. They added that studies were conducted on 12,535 individuals.

A study has linked rise in blood sugar to a combination of lifestyle and hereditary risks. “In the initial phase, we performed genome scan of 2,465 subjects and replicated the top signals in two ethnic groups of the country comprising 7,221 Indo-Europeans and 2,849 Dravidian subjects. These two ethnic groups are genetically diverse due to different ancestral backgrounds,” said lead scientist Dwaipayan Bhardwaj.

According to AIIMs endocrinology professor Dr Nikhil Tandon the finding could also lead to new line of targeted treatments for the disease that affects over a billion people worldwide. Samir K Brahmachari , director general of the Council of Industrial and Scientific Research, said this is also the first and the largest genome wide association study (GWAS) conducted for any complex disorder conceived and executed entirely in the developing world. “Further work on functionally validating this genomic discovery has already been initiated,” scientists said.