Epigenetic changes could explain type 2 diabetes

"This shows that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is not only genetic, but also epigenetic," said Charlotte Ling, who led the study.

Epigenetic changes occur as a result of factors including environment and lifestyle, and can affect the function of genes. Charlotte Ling and her colleagues have analysed insulin- producing cells of both healthy individuals and patients with type 2 diabetes. The analysis revealed epigenetic changes in approximately 800 genes in those with type 2 diabetes. Over 100 of the genes also had altered expression and many of these could contribute to reduced insulin production. Reduced insulin production is one of the underlying causes of type 2 diabetes.

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