Paris, July 18, 2005
Childhood obesity is a rampant epidemic around the world. In
In order to investigate this condition, researchers built up the largest collection of families with obese children anywhere in the world (2). Exploration of the entire genome of 115 French families made it possible to locate a region on chromosome 6 which predisposes a child to obesity, a region where the gene Ectonucleotide Pyrophosphatase/Phosphodiesterase 1 (ENPP1) is situated. This gene is an inhibitor for the insulin receptor whose excessive expression in the livers of transgenic mice leads to a lack of sensitivity to the effects of insulin and to a diabetic condition.
The current study, published in Nature Genetics, is based on a study of over 6,000 European individuals. It shows that the simultaneous presence of three mutations of the ENPP1 gene increases by between 50% and 70% the risk of developing obesity during childhood followed by massive obesity as a adult, and, to the same degree, the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.
ENPP1 is the first genetic determinant shared by childhood obesity, morbid adult obesity and type 2 diabetes. The discovery of this gene for “diabesity” is important since it shows that in addition to dysfunction affecting dietary habits and satiety, there are types of obesity that are strongly causative of a type of diabetes that is purely metabolic in origin. Such obesity must be prevented and treated differently from diabetes linked to dietary behaviour. In this way, less “insulin-resistant” diets, high levels of physical activity or even special medication could prove effective in the struggle to contain “diabesity”, the first epidemic of non-infectious origin in the history of humanity.
(1) Non-insulin-dependent diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes. This type accounts for around 90% of cases.
(2) Freephone number: 0800 02 04 12.
Variants of ENPP1 are associated with childhood and adult obesity and increase the risk of glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes. Nat Genet–2005
David Meyre, Nabila Bouatia-Naji, Agnès Tounian, Chantal Samson, Cécile Lecoeur, Vincent Vatin, Maya Ghoussaini, Christophe Wachter, Serge Hercberg, Guillaume Charpentier, Wolfgang Patsch, François Pattou, Marie-Aline Charles, Patrick Tounian, Karine Clément, Béatrice Jouret, Jacques Weill, Betty A. Maddux, Ira D. Goldfine, Andrew Walley, Philippe Boutin, Christian Dina, and Philippe Froguel
Philippe Froguel and David Meyre
Laboratoire de génétique des maladies multifactorielles (Lille)
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