In the development of obesity and diabetes, signals from the brain play an important role. Here an important neurotransmitter is dopamine. DZD scientists from Tübingen and Munich, together with Swedish and American colleagues, have investigated how mutations in the obesity risk gene FTO and variants of the dopamine D2 receptor gene interact. Their results suggest that people in whom both genes are altered have a higher risk of developing obesity and diabetes.
“Our studies show that when both genes are mutated, this can have a far-reaching effect on health. If due to the ANKK1 polymorphism there are fewer dopamine D2 receptors, those affected with mutated FTO have a higher percentage of body fat, more abdominal fat and low sensitivity to insulin in the body. In addition, in the caudate nucleus, the brain region that is important for dopamine metabolism, insulin sensitivity was altered,” said PD Dr. med. Martin Heni of the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases (IDM) of Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University of Tübingen, summarizing the results.
Heni et al. (2016) Interaction between the obesity-risk gene FTO and the dopamine D2 receptor gene ANKK1/TaqIA on insulin sensitivity. Diabetologia, DOI 10.1007/s00125-016-4095-0