A new gene responsible for diabetes identified

A new gene responsible for diabetes identified
A new gene responsible for diabetes identified

Researchers from Lyon have identified the role of the ONECUT1 gene in monogenic diabetes (1 to 4% of diabetes cases). A discovery that could help better manage this disease.

ONECUT1: this is the name of one of the genes responsible for diabetes and it has just been discovered. In a study published in Nature Medicine on October 18, the endocrinology department of Prof. Marc Nicolino of the Hospices Civils de Lyon (HCL) and the INSERM team of Cécile Julier identified this gene responsible for diabetes.

In order to find ONECUT1, the researchers studied a family from Lyon, several members of which are affected by diabetes in the department of pediatric endocrinology and diabetology and hereditary diseases of HCL.

“The service takes care of all endocrine and metabolic pathologies in children and adolescents and common pediatric diseases. (…) It is part of the Integrated Center for Obesity”, specify the HCL in a press release. Tuesday.

ONECUT1 “associated with high risk of diabetes”

In particular, the researchers studied a newborn baby who had a severe form of the disease, affecting the development of his pancreas and gallbladder. The patient died only 60 days after giving birth, but genetic analyzes enabled doctors to observe a “bi-allelic mutation”.

In fact, in this child, the ONECUT1 gene was in “two copies” at the level of DNA. This duplication caused a very severe form of the disease. Because, even in “a single copy”, having the ONECUT1 gene “is associated with a high risk of specific diabetes in adulthood”.

Beyond monogenic diabetes, such as the one from which this very young patient suffered and which represents 1 to 4% of diabetes, the observation of this new gene “makes it possible to better understand the physio-pathological mechanisms of this disease”.

Millions of people with diabetes

The discovery of the responsibility of ONECUT1 could ultimately help to better understand, prevent and cure this disease which affected 463 million people worldwide in 2019, including 3.7 million in France (2015).

“Several genes are shared between monogenic diabetes and multifactorial (type 2 diabetes), suggesting the existence of shared pathological mechanisms,” write the study authors.

However, type 2 diabetes is the majority, it concerns 90% of people who suffer from this disease. This problem is all the more urgent as diabetes continues to increase in the world, in particular because of the constant spread of obesity. 700 million people could be affected by diabetes in 2045, specifies the International Diabetes Federation.

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