London: In what could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of type 2 diabetes, researchers have identified a urinary marker that can lead to easy detection of diabetes.
"We were able to identify a urinary marker that can easily detect the presence of a case of diabetes," said co-researcher Johan Auwerx from The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.
For the study, the researchers carried out a study of the genome and the 'phenome' (the set of all phenotypes or clinical features) of a family of mice composed by 183 members.
A particular gene, located on the mouse's chromosome 2 plays an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes, showed the findings.
"The mice with a high-fat diet are more or less likely to develop diabetes depending on whether this gene is active or not," said co-first author Evan Williams from EPFL.
"By combining our various 'layers' of information, we were able to establish exactly the process that leads from the presence of this gene to an increased risk of diabetes," Williams added.
Diabetic mice have low urinary levels of a specific 'metabolite' (2-aminoadipate), the researchers found.
Its concentration varies significantly depending on the presence of the identified gene, but not inrelation to the rodents' body fat.
This proves that it is indeed the gene, and not the diet, which regulates the expression of this protein, the researcher said.
"The strength of this correlation prompted us to ask ourselves whether it would also occur in the case of humans," said Evan Williams.
For this step, the researchers relied on a University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland that involved 1,000 individuals from the region.
In diabetic patients, the rate of 2-aminoadipase was lower than in the rest, the findings showed.
The study appeared in the journal Cell Metabolism.