Gene Affecting Belly Fat Increases Diabetes Risk

The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly one in ten Americans are presently diabetic. This total amounts to more than 30 million people. Risk factors that have been known to increase one’s risk of becoming afflicted with diabetes are being a hypertensive over the age of 45, heart disease, suffering from depression, and having a history in the immediate family of diabetes.

The risk factor that is probably best known to the general public is being overweight. However, new research is showing that this issue is much more complicated than originally believed.

A group of scientist working from various institutions including the University of Oxford in London, King’s College of London, the University of Pennsylvania, and others, completed the study.

The team identified a gene known as KLF14 which though not having much influence on an individual’s weight, impacts the way that fat is actually stored in the body.

The researchers discovered that a variation of this gene in women is responsible for causing fat to be stored in the hips versus the abdomen. It was also observed that these fat cells are fewer in number but larger and filled with fat.

The theory formulated by those evaluating the data is that the lower number of fat cells taking on more fat to store results in this fat being stored in an inefficient manner. This leads to fat cells more likely to be the source of metabolic conditions like type 2 diabetes.

A second finding that was interesting pertaining to the KLF14 is that the increased risk is only prevalent in women that inherit the genes from their mothers. These women were shown to have an increased risk of developing diabetes by 30%.

The results of the study have been printed in the Nature Genetics Journal and suggest that the development of type 2 diabetes is a result of more than just the overproduction of insulin by the pancreas and liver. It is now believed that fat cells play a major role in the process.

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