Genetic study of blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics reveals the role of the intestine and impact on lung function

New research published in Nature Genetics describes the largest-ever study into the genetics of random “round-the-clock” blood glucose levels. The study, involving almost half a million people of diverse backgrounds, describes new DNA variants influencing blood sugar levels measured “at random.” In addition, the research highlights that individual responses to drugs from the popular class of GLP-1R agonists, used to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity, can depend on DNA variants in the target gene, GLP1R. Scientists also revealed, for the first time, that type 2 diabetes can directly cause lung complications. In the largest-ever genetic study exploring how genes affect blood sugar levels and health outcomes, researchers concluded that lung disorders should now be considered a complication of type 2 diabetes. The study also shed light on the importance of the gastrointestinal tract, where the small intestine, ileum, and colon play important roles in the regulation of blood glucose levels, in addition to the well-established role of the pancreas.

Professor Inga Prokopenko, Professor of e-One Health and Head of Statistical Multi-Omics from the University of Surrey, who led the study, said, “This hugely important study, involving over a hundred scientists from around the globe, gives us new insights into the genetics of blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetes. Already now, we can act on better prevention from type 2 diabetes complications, including lung disease. We should improve treatment strategies for people with this condition, by studying individual DNA variants in relation to GLP-1R agonist response.”

Source: University of Surrey, Medical Xpress, September 7, 2023; see source article