Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Amino acid profiling may help predict development of type 2 diabetes

The field of metabolomics enables early detection of certain diseases through profiling of metabolic status from blood samples. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by impaired glucose metabolism. A nested case-control study was conducted in the framework of the Framingham Offspring Study (FOS) to investigate whether metabolite profiling can predict the development of type 2 diabetes. In the FOS study, 201 out of 2,422 eligible nondiabetic subjects eventually developed type 2 diabetes during a 12-year follow-up. Blood specimens at baseline of 189 of the 201 diabetic cases and 189 nondiabetic matched controls were profiled for metabolites, including amino acids, amines and other polar metabolites. The fasting concentrations of three branched amino acids —isoleucine, leucine and valine— and twp aromatic amino acids —tyrosine and phenylalanine— were higher in the cases versus controls. These amino acids are significant predictors for future diabetes, and a combination of three of these can increase diabetes risk fivefold. An independent prospective cohort study confirmed these results. The findings suggest that certain amino acids may play a role in diabetes pathogenesis. Metabolomics, particularly amino acid profiling, may be a useful tool in predicting the development of diabetes long before the symptoms become apparent (Wang, T.J. et al. Nat Med 2011, 17(4): 448).