Genetics & Genomics

May 5, 2022

Gene network linked to Type 2 diabetes

Vanderbilt researchers used a novel analytical approach to identify a network of genes associated with Type 2 diabetes, including 31 genes that had not previously been associated with the disease.

Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease affected by both genetic and environmental factors.  

To investigate gene expression changes that occur during diabetes progression, Hung-Hsin Chen, PhD, MS, Jennifer “Piper” Below, PhD, and colleagues studied blood samples from members of a community cohort of Mexican Americans in Cameron County, Texas, which has a high diabetes burden. 

The researchers compared changes in gene expression over time in individuals who developed Type 2 diabetes against metabolically healthy participants with stable blood glucose levels. 

Using a novel analytical approach, they identified a network of genes associated with Type 2 diabetes.  

The investigators then used Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s biobank, BioVU, which is linked to electronic health records, to obtain independent evidence supporting the role of 31 novel diabetes genes that have not previously been associated with the disease.  

These findings, published recently in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, suggest that larger studies building on this study design and approach may further clarify the molecular mechanisms of diabetes development. 

This project was supported in part by National Institute of Health grants TR000371, HG010718, HG011138, GM140287 and HL142302, and by the American Heart Association.