Research

South Asian Type 2 Diabetes Study

Overview

Immigrants from South Asia (including Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Nepalese and Sri Lankans), now living in countries all over the world – including the United Kingdom, United States, South Africa, and Singapore – have been reported to have an increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes, which is also known as adult-onset or maturity-onset diabetes. They typically have a younger age of onset (before 45 years of age) and reduced adiposity (body fat) as measured by body mass index (BMI) compared to indigenous populations, such as the Whites, Africans, African-Americans, Chinese, Malays, and Hispanics.

Two important factors have been proposed to contribute to the increased prevalence of diabetes among South Asians, namely genetic predisposition and lifestyle changes including increased adiposity, dietary factors and reduced physical activity. Diabetes plays a critical role in predisposing South Asians to a higher risk of coronary heart disease (myocardial infarctions or heart attacks and angina) and cerebrovascular disease (strokes). Thus, investigating the underlying reasons for the higher prevalence of diabetes among South Asians is important not only for preventing long-term complications of diabetes such as retinopathy (diabetic eye disease), neuropathy (diabetic nerve damage) and nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease), but also for reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. This study will investigate the underlying molecular basis of early-onset type 2 diabetes in South Asian families by studying variants in the genome (blips in genes which are inherited from the parents).

Recruitment

We plan to recruit approximately 200 patients (age 18-70 years) with early-onset type 2 diabetes (before the age of 45 years), their spouses, and their first degree family members (parents, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters) to elucidate the underlying genetic variants contributing to type 2 diabetes mellitus.

All patients and their family members will undergo the collection of DNA and blood testing for routine tests such as blood counts, serum chemistry (including liver, kidney, and lipid profiles), and analysis of urine.   All patients and their family members will be invited to come to UT Southwestern Clinical Research Unit for blood testing, DEXA scans, and skinfold and anthropometric measurements (a single visit lasting ~2-3 hours). There is no cost for these tests for the participants. A written informed consent will be taken from all participants.

Grant support

This study is supported by generous grants from the Gupta-Agarwal Foundation, Jiv- Daya Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center.