Diabetes, metabolic aberrations linked with body-clock

December 8th, 2008 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 8 (IANS) Metabolic aberrations and diabetes may be linked with the body clock, says a new research.Researchers have identified a gene involved in the way the body responds to the 24-hour-day-night cycle that is strongly linked to high blood sugar levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

“We have extremely strong, incontrovertible evidence that the gene encoding melatonin receptor 1B (MNTR1B) is associated with high fasting glucose levels and increased risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Mark McCarthy, a professor of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Oxford.

A variant in the gene encoding MTNR1B showed a nine percent increase in risk of type 2 diabetes for each copy of the gene variant inherited from a parent.

Melatonin is a hormone that is strongly tied to control of our sleep-wake cycles, with concentrations in the blood peaking at night-time and dipping during the day. As a result, melatonin is implicated in conditions like jetlag and sleep disorders.

Disrupted sleep patterns are known to be associated with a range of health problems including metabolic disorders like diabetes, but it is not understood how they are connected, according to an Oxford release.

In identifying a link between a melatonin receptor and blood sugar levels, this study provides genetic evidence that mechanisms controlled by our body clock are connected to the machinery that keeps us metabolically healthy.

The international collaboration combined 10 genome-wide association scans involving a total of over 36,000 individuals of European descent.

The results were published in Nature Genetics.

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