Diabetes is an excellent example of how environmental factors interact with susceptibility genes leading to poor clinical outcomes. The Hispanic population is particularly affected by the diabetes epidemic, but this predisposition is poorly understood. Glucose levels or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) do not successfully predict all individuals at risk of diabetes or diabetes complications. Methylglyoxal (MG), the oxidation product of glucose metabolites, and the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) represents an important biochemical mechanism contributing to the tissue damage seen in diabetes, and may provide a means of predicting susceptibility to diabetes and its complications.
- Currently, clinicians use a test to measure the amount of glycated hemoglobin in the blood (HbA1C) to predict an individuals’ risk of diabetes. Glycated hemoglobin is a form of hemoglobin that is found in red blood cells that is produced after sugar attaches to hemoglobin.
- The metabolism of glucose (sugar) produces “advanced glycation end products” (AGEs) and methylglyoxal (MG). These products represent the tissue damage seen in diabetic patients. May also provide a way of predicting risk.
- A possible biomarker has been identified as MG-modified fibrinogen and is now being validated.
Key Research Highlights
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which blood sugar levels are elevated and can put stress on various organs in the body. It has reached epidemic proportions and has no known cure. RFG 3 is investigating possible biomarkers (indicators of disease) that could predict the susceptibility of an individual to diabetes.