The first single gene cause of increased sensitivity to the hormone insulin has been discovered by a team of Oxford University researchers.
The opposite condition – insulin resistance – is a common feature of type 2 diabetes, so finding this cause of insulin sensitivity could offer new opportunities for pursuing novel treatments for diabetes.
Although mutations in the PTEN gene cause a rare condition with increased risk of cancer, the biological pathways the gene is involved in could offer promising targets for new drugs.
The Oxford University researchers, along with colleagues at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge and the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, report their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.