Low levels of PYY hormone a very early indicator of type 2 diabetes

Mar 10, 2008

It may soon be possible to take a simple blood test and predict whether or not someone has low levels of a particular molecule, predisposing them to the development of Type 2 diabetes. If the test is positive, it may then be possible to use preventative treatment, slowing down, or even halting that development.

Such is the hope of scientists and clinicians at Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research who have shown conclusively that people who produce low levels of the molecule PYY have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The findings were published online on 4 March in the prestigious International Journal of Obesity.

It is already known that the hormone PYY, which is released from the gut after a meal, creates a feeling of satiety. When PYY is in oversupply, it prevents diet-induced obesity in mice.

Professor Herbert Herzog, Director of Garvan’s Neuroscience Program, and an expert on appetite, says that the new findings are important in that they show a metabolic defect before the presence of any disease or manifestation of weight gain. “We can now see that low PYY levels after eating are a very early predictor of the development of obesity and Type 2 diabetes,” he said.

Professor Lesley Campbell, Director of Diabetes Services at St. Vincent’s Hospital and a senior member of Garvan’s Diabetes and Obesity Clinical Studies group, has been researching genetic factors in the development of Type 2 diabetes for over 10 years. Specifically, her research looks at people before they get the disease, the contributing factors, and the effects of the diabetes.

Professor Campbell has already published findings that insulin resistant people, with a family history of Type 2 diabetes, have low levels of PYY. “In earlier studies we hinted at the fact that before any of the abnormalities of diabetes are present, people already have an abnormality of satiety, marked by the lack of the secretion of this PYY hormone,” she said.

“We now have published that, even earlier in the development of diabetes, people who are not yet insulin resistant show a low secretion of PYY. They have a blunted post-meal secretion of this hormone, making them less likely to feel satiety, and more likely to gain weight.”

Professor Campbell’s research involved elaborate testing of two groups of people, eight in each group, over a period of two years. One group had relatives with Type 2 diabetes, the other group had no family history of the disease. The groups were matched for gender, for age and for adiposity.

“It was most important to match the groups for their fatness,” said Professor Campbell. “The only difference was their relatives. You assume that they are carrying the genetic burden of diabetes, which we already know to be a reality.”

“Low levels of PYY at this very early pre-diabetes stage could be used as a marker, or predictor, that Type 2 diabetes is very likely to develop.”

“As a clinician, I am hopeful that it will be possible to screen extensively in the future, and therefore stem the spread of this debilitating disease.”

Source: Research Australia

Explore further: Ebola mistakes should serve a lesson says WHO

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Ebola mistakes should serve a lesson says WHO

14 hours ago

The World Health Organization's chief admitted on Sunday that the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve as a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future.

British Ebola nurse discharged from hospital

21 hours ago

A British nurse who contracted Ebola while working as a volunteer in Sierra Leone said she was "happy to be alive" as she was discharged from hospital on Saturday having made a full recovery.

Tide turning in Ebola fight after hard lessons

Jan 24, 2015

A top U.N. official in the fight against Ebola greeted just three patients at one treatment center he visited this week in Sierra Leone. Families in Liberia are no longer required to cremate the remains of ...

Just five Ebola cases left in Liberia: UN

Jan 24, 2015

The United Nations said on Saturday Liberia was dealing with just five remaining cases of Ebola, in the clearest sign yet that the country is nearing the end of the outbreak.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.