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A team of researchers from several countries in Europe and the USA discovered differences in gene expression in children who later develop type 1 diabetes. In their article, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes their search for transcriptome patterns in blood samples from 400 children who are at high risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes, which usually affects children, occurs when the immune system attacks islet beta cells in the pancreas. The cells are killed and the child can no longer produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition that is treated with frequent blood tests and regular injections of insulin. Previous research has shown that type 1 diabetes is likely a progressive disease, with the immune system increasingly targeting islet beta cells. Unfortunately, it is still not possible to predict whether a patient will develop type 1 diabetes before it starts. Doctors want some lead time as it would help prevent health effects. However, it is possible to identify children who are most at risk of developing the disease through genetic testing. In this new effort, researchers looked for changes in gene expression in children who were determined to be likely to develop the disease and who later did.
Work included collecting and testing blood samples from children participating in the environmental determinants of diabetes in the Young study. All children were at high risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The researchers only examined blood samples from those children who actually developed the disease. In total, they analyzed 2,013 samples from 400 children in the study, specifically looking for transcriptome patterns. They discovered differences in gene expression in the children who later developed type 1 diabetes, including the natural killer gene signatures of autoimmunity. They suggest that the expression changes they identified could one day be used to predict type 1 diabetes in children from islet beta cell destruction.
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Louis-Pascal Xhonneux, et al. Transcription Networks in People at Risk Identify Signatures for Type 1 Diabetes Progression, Science Translational Medicine (2021). DOI: 10.1126 / scitranslmed.abd5666
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Quote: Differences in gene expression that were followed up to the progression of the identified type I diabetes (2021, April 1) were reported on April 3, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-differences- gene-tracked-diabetes.html
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