What is it about?

The latest results published in Diabetes Care show that the earliest event leading to prediabetes (the initial asymptomatic condition where the first signs of diabetes are already present), is an early dysfunction of the beta-cell, independent of body weight. Beta-cells in the pancreas produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. They further showed that this beta-cell dysfunction was associated with the presence of genetic factors previously associated with type 2 diabetes in adults. This discovery could lead to the early identification of children that are at risk of future type 2 diabetes.

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Why is it important?

In this study we show that beta-cell dysfunction is an early event in the onset of pre-diabetes in children and that this effect is body weight independent. However, we also report in this study that subsequent weight gain during puberty aggravates the progression from prediabetes to diabetes. This stresses the importance of lifestyle and nutritional interventions in childhood to reduce the risks to develop diabetes.


Our research has important implications for potentially identifying children at risk of developing prediabetes through genetic markers. The new findings will allow us to develop new nutritional approaches that target the insulin response to a meal, and the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar level.

Francois-Pierre Martin
Nestle SA

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Genetic Susceptibility Determines β-Cell Function and Fasting Glycemia Trajectories Throughout Childhood: A 12-Year Cohort Study (EarlyBird 76), Diabetes Care, January 2020, American Diabetes Association, DOI: 10.2337/dc19-0806.
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