Diabetes: Major Health Problem in State of Punjab

Amritsar, June 15, 2020: Punjab has Type 2 diabetes (T2D) as a major health issue  (prevalence ~ 10%). The population apparently has a considerable contribution of genetic factors that dictate the susceptibility to T2D which has been shown by extensive research published by the department of Human Genetics of the Guru Nanak Dev Universityin reputed international journals. This research was based on the data which has been collected in past 20 years for assessing modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors that contribute to T2D and its major complications as hypertension, coronary artery disease,  diabetic retinopathy, diabetic  nephropathy  and end stage renal disease  in  population of Punjab.  The investigations in  various ethnic groups from Punjab has revealed prevalence of higher  obesity profiles, dyslipidemia  and poor glucose control along with  physical inactivity in the population.  All these factors give higher predisposition to T2D and accelerate progression to complications.

Prof. Dr. Vasudha Sambyal, coordinator of research said that thisstudy was conducted on different endogamous groups as Banias, Brahmins and Jat Sikhs for susceptibility to diabetes have observed that ethnicity contributes differentially to development of T2D probably due to differences in the nature of work, diet and cultural practices. complications owing to the sedentary lifestyle and high calorie diet mostly comprising  fried and junk food consumption in the population of Punjab.

She said that in T2D, consistent hyperglycemia can worsen the condition and the patients may develop secondary complications that deteriorate the quality of life. This increases the economic burden for management with frequent hospitalisation. In the background of genetic susceptibility in population of Punjab, it is imperative to lower the inflammatory burden by lifestyle modifications such as increasing physical activity, reduce fat  and  carbohydrate  based diet and reduce stress through meditative techniques. This can enhance the chances of diabetes reversal and lower the risk of associated complications thereby improving the quality of life, she added.

Using latest molecular genetic techniques, a role  of risk alleles in twenty eight genes involved in insulin secretion, signalling and  inflammatory pathways has been found. These are first reports from North India on cumulative risk  associated with these genes. Polymorphisms in these genes have indicateda  parallel relationship between inflammation, insulin resistance, insulin secretion, obesity and lifestyle. As some of these variants modify the drug response also, the findings have implications for personalized medicine.Prof. Dr. Badruddoza, Prof. Dr. Bhanwer, Dr Kawaljit Kaur, Human Genetics Department were other contributors in this research.

The department has pioneered the genetic research on diabetes complications especially on diabetic retinopathy and Diabetic nephropathy   in the population of Punjab. It is the first to report that variants in inflammatory genes VEGFACD2APELMO1NPHS1HLA-G alter the susceptibility to Diabetic nephropathy. Interestingly, some of the variants in VEGFACD2AP,TCF7L2 and ELMO1 were found to have protective effect against development of DN in the population. For the development of diabetic retinopathy, variations in TCF7L2,HFE,ADIPOQ, TLR4,AKR1B1PTPN1 were found to increase the risk of developing the complication.

The department of Human Genetics of the University was established in 1990, awards M.Sc. (Hons. School, Five year integrated course), M.Sc. and Ph.D. Human Genetics degrees. With a significant research output as 5 books and 560 research publications  in prestigious  journals, it has been  recognized at the national and international levels for its  dedicated  research and academic excellence and  supported  by  grants from UGC,DST,DBT and ICMR.

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