Scientists at the Garvan Institute in Sydney, Australia have made progress in the study of a gene that is linked to Type 2 diabetes, as published in the journal Diabetes.
Id1 is a gene that when turned "on" interferes with the ability of beta cells' ability to produce insulin within the pancreas. In studies involving mice, the researches have found that the gene is expressed when the mice were fed high-fat diets. The gene normally remains dormant with a low-fat diet and regular exercise.
The scientists hope their discovery will lead to a drug that blocks the role of ID1 and keeps it "off" regardless of dietary and exercise habits. When the gene was blocked in mice, they were still protected from the disease even with high-fat diets. Medical procedures may also be developed to identify patients at risk for diabetes while still young by detecting high levels of ID1, allowing diabetes care methods to be implemented to prevent the onset of the disease.
The findings support the methods that are currently employed in managing diabetes, such as healthy diets and exercise, for prevention as well. Other factors such as stress and glucose levels also affect the normal functioning of the gene, and finding a specific drug to inhibit Id1 may be the next generation of diabetes medication.