Susceptibility to Adult Diabetes May Be Visible in Childhood

Pavankumar Kamat

June 24, 2020

According to a new study published in the journal  Diabetes Care,  early signs of susceptibility to adult type 2 diabetes (T2D) can be seen in children as young as 8 years old.

Researchers at the University of Bristol tracked over 4000 participants in the Children of the 90s study. Blood samples were collected from the participants when they were aged 8, 16, 18, and 25 years. The researchers combined genetic information with the 'metabolomics' approach to identify patterns specific to early stages of T2D development.

The findings showed that certain types of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were reduced at age 8 years before other types of cholesterol including low-density lipoprotein were elevated. Elevations in inflammation and amino acids were also seen by ages 16 and 18 years. These differences amplified over time.

The authors clarify that the findings depict the effects of susceptibility rather than of clinical condition itself, and it does not necessarily mean that young individuals already have adult diabetes. Dr Joshua Bell, one of the study investigators, said: "These findings help reveal the biology of how diabetes unfolds and what features may be targetable much earlier on to prevent the onset of disease and its complications."

Bell JA, Bull CJ, Gunter MJ, Carslake D, Mahajan A, Davey Smith G, Timpson NJ, Vincent EE. Early Metabolic Features of Genetic Liability to Type 2 Diabetes: Cohort Study With Repeated Metabolomics Across Early Life. Diabetes Care. 2020;43(7):1537-1545. doi: 10.2337/dc19-2348. PMID: 32345654.  Abstract.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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