October 24, 2022

Metabolic signatures of Type 2 diabetes risk

Vanderbilt epidemiologists found 32 blood metabolites associated with obesity and showed that adding these to traditional disease prediction models improves accuracy of determining Type 2 diabetes risk.

Over 10% of adults worldwide suffer from diabetes, with China home to the largest number of people with diabetes worldwide.

To improve Type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk prediction, Danxia Yu, PhD, and colleagues investigated the blood metabolites profile of over 2,000 Chinese adults.

Metabolites describe the thousands of small molecules produced during metabolism and other bodily processes. With various functions, many of the metabolites are vital to our health, and the quantity of certain metabolites can be used as markers for disease, such as high creatinine for kidney dysfunction.

The researchers found 32 metabolites associated with obesity, 17 of which were also associated with risk of developing T2D. In fact, these metabolites were able to predict T2D risk as well as a prediction model that used traditional risk factors such as lifestyle and family history.

The research, published in Obesity, found that adding the metabolites to traditional disease prediction models significantly improved the chances of accurately determining T2D risk.

VUMC co-authors include Xiong-Fei Pan, PhD, Xiang Shu, PhD, Hui Cai, MD, PhD, Qiuyin Cai, MD, PhD, Wei Zheng, MPH, MD, PhD, and Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD.

This study was supported by National Institutes of Health grants CA173640, CA182910, HL149779, DK108159, and DK126721; and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center grant CA068485.