Washington: A well-known gene variant linked to Type 2 diabetes may also predispose people to being leaner or have lower body weight, a study has found.
The findings, published in the journal BMC Obesity, are striking because many individuals with Type 2 diabetes are obese.
However, individuals with this gene variant, called transcription Factor-7 like 2 gene, may be at the risk for Type 2 diabetes even while maintaining a low body weight, said researchers from the University of North Carolina in the US.
As researchers uncover genes, they are finding distinct pathways through which individuals develop Type 2 diabetes. This information may be used in the future to tailor treatments to populations and individuals to help prevent diabetes or better control blood glucose levels once they develop diabetes.
"The counterintuitive discovery that some people are predisposed to both being thin and developing Type 2 diabetes refocuses our attention on the need to collect data in diverse populations and across time," said Kari North, a professor at University of North Carolina.
The team used population-based study data from more than 9,000 Hispanic Latino adults, age between 21 and 76 years.
Using complex modelling, researchers looked at the impact of a specific complex gene variant on changes in body mass index and then estimated the odds of Type 2 diabetes across time.
In the US, Hispanic Latinos face a striking disparity in Type 2 diabetes, with one in two developing Type 2 diabetes. This population is also 50 per cent more likely than whites to die of Type 2 diabetes, researchers said.
They note that the transcription Factor-7 like 2 gene is not routinely screened for in clinical practice.
The study will help scientists use genetic information to understand the causes of diabetes and obesity and understand their relationship to each other, researchers said.
This can lead to personalisation in medication and help clinicians offer better treatment and advice on adopting healthy lifestyles, they said.