A blood biomarker to identify pre-diabetic individuals

©DR. Chemical structure of 1,5-anhydroglucitol.

Diabetes is a serious metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels. A defect of beta-cells in the pancreas is involved in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Identification of pre-diabetic individuals with decreased functional beta-cell mass is essential for the prevention of diabetes, but technically impossible for now.

Searching for a biomarker

In their study published in the journal Diabetes, Pierre Maechler, professor at UNIGE Faculty of Medicine Diabetes Centre and at the Department of Cell physiology and metabolism, and his team, in collaboration with ETH Zurich, have scanned in two mouse models hundreds of metabolites in both plasma and liver. Using metabolomics and machine learning, they uncovered a particular sugar, 1,5-anhydroglucitol, which levels linearly correlate with the decline of the functional beta-cell mass in pre-diabetic individuals.

Promising clinical insights

The 1,5-anhydroglucitol provides insights in the prevention of diabetes, because first it allows to identify high-risk but yet asymptomatic individuals and second it can be easily measured by an enzymatic blood test. Validations with human cohorts are already starting, hoping to improve the prediction of diabetes and enable tailored treatment strategies.

17 octobre 2019