First diagnostic markers for pre-diabetes discovered


Detecting a predisposition to type 2 diabetes and preventing the disease before it develops is possible based on a current study by scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München. In the latest edition of Molecular Systems Biology they describe for the first time three biomarkers that can indicate pre-diabetes.

The current study by scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the German Center for Diabetes Research, which appears in the latest edition of the renowned journal Molecular Systems Biology, reports for the first time on new biomarkers of pre-diabetes. Up to now, no specific biomarkers have been available for the early form of diabetes, one of the most important common diseases. The interdisciplinary team of epidemiologists, geneticists and metabolomics experts headed by Dr. Rui Wang-Sattler, who leads a working group in the Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology, and Professor Jerzy Adamski, Head of Genome Analysis Center and the metabolomics platform at Helmholtz Zentrum München, identified three new biomarkers of pre-diabetes, two of which predicted the risk of the disease in individuals.

“As the concentration of the biomarkers in blood are indicative of pre-diabetes, our study suggests that preventive measures can be taken,” says corresponding author Dr. Wang-Sattler, explaining the impact of the new discovery. If type 2 diabetes is diagnosed in early stages, such as pre-diabetes, disease development can be arrested or even prevented. Between about 8-10% of the German population suffers from type 2 diabetes mellitus, a disorder of glucose metabolism. New approaches to the diagnosis, therapy and prevention of this common disease are the scientific objectives of the Helmholtz Zentrum München. For the study, Dr. Wang-Sattler collaborated with several institutes at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, two partners from the German Center for Diabetes Research, the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf, and the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbrücke.

Further information
Database and scientific team
Metabolomics analysis was used to identify biomarkers from the KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Augsburg Region) cohort and verified with data from the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) study.
Dr. Rui Wang-Sattler and Mr. Zhonghao Yu of the Research Unit Molecular Epidemiology (acting Head, Prof. Annette Peters) cooperated with Dr. Ana Messias (Institute of Structural Biology), Prof. Thomas Meitinger (Director, Institute of Human Genetics), Prof. Martin Hrabě de Angelis (Director, Institute for Experimental Genetics), Prof. Jerzy Adamski (Head of the Genome Analysis Center) and Prof. Annette Peters (Director, Institute of Epidemiology II). The study was led by Dr. Christian Herder and Prof. Michael Roden at the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf.

Original Publication:
Wang-Sattler, R et al.(2012) Novel biomarkers for pre-diabetes identified by metabolomics, Molecular Systems Biology (8): doi:10.1038/msb.2012.43