Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Link DNA “End-Caps” Length to Diabetes Risk --New Role for Short Telomeres

28.03.2011
New evidence has emerged from studies in mice that short telomeres or “caps” at the ends of chromosomes may predispose people to age-related diabetes, according to Johns Hopkins scientists.

Telomeres are repetitive sequences of DNA that protect the ends of chromosomes, and they normally shorten with age, much like the caps that protect the end of shoelaces. As telomeres shorten, cells lose the ability to divide normally and eventually die. Telomere shortening has been linked to cancer, lung disease, and other age-related illnesses. Diabetes, also a disease of aging, affects as many as one in four adults over the age of 60.

The Johns Hopkins research, described in the March 10 issue of PLoS One, arose from scientist Mary Armanios’ observation that diabetes seems to occur more often in patients with dyskeratosis congenita, a rare, inherited disease caused by short telomeres. Patients with dyskeratosis congenita often have premature hair graying and are prone to develop early organ failure.

“Dyskeratosis congenita is a disease that essentially makes people age prematurely. We knew that the incidence of diabetes increases with age, so we thought there may be a link between telomeres and diabetes,” says Armanios, assistant professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

Armanios studied mice with short telomeres and their insulin-producing beta cells. Human diabetics lack sufficient insulin production and have cells resistant to its efficient use, causing disruption to the regulation of sugar levels in the blood. Armanios found that despite the presence of plentiful, healthy-looking beta cells in the mice, they had higher blood sugar levels and secreted half as much insulin as the controls. “This mimics early stages of diabetes in humans where cells have trouble secreting insulin in response to sugar stimulus,” says Armanios.

“Many of the steps of insulin secretion in these mice, from mitochondrial energy production to calcium signaling, functioned at half their normal levels,” says Armanios.

In beta cells from mice with short telomeres, they found disregulation of p16, a gene linked to aging and diabetes. No such mistakes were found in the controls.

In addition, many of the gene pathways essential for insulin secretion in beta cells, including pathways that control calcium signaling, were altered in beta cells from mice with short telomeres.

Armanios says that some studies have suggested that diabetic patients may have short telomeres, but it was not clear whether this contributes to diabetes risk or is a consequence of the disease.

“Age is the most important risk factor for diabetes, and we also know that family heredity plays a very important role. Telomere length is an inherited factor and may make people more prone to develop diabetes,” says Armanios.

Based on this work, Armanios says that telomere length could serve as a biomarker for development of diabetes. Armanios and her colleagues are planning to conduct research to examine whether telomere length can predict the risk of diabetes prospectively.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, a Ruth L. Kirschstein Award, the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, Sidney Kimmel Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Swedish Research Council and the Family Erling-Persson Foundation.

Participants in the research included Nini Guo, Erin M. Parry, Frant Kembou, Naudia Lauder, Mehboob A. Hussain from Johns Hopkins; and Luo-Sheng Li and Per-Olof Berggren from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Media Contact: Vanessa Wasta
410-955-1287; wasta@jhmi.edu

Vanessa Wasta | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu

Further reports about: Armanios DNA Diabetes Telomere beta cells calcium signaling insulin secretion

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>