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Young-onset diabetes in Asian Indians is associated with lower measured and genetically determined beta cell function – published online 05/03/2022

Siddiqui graphical abstract

Moneeza K. Siddiqui, Ranjit Mohan Anjana, Adem Y. Dawed, Cyrielle Martoeau, Sundararajan Srinivasan, Jebarani Saravanan, Sathish K. Madanagopal, Alasdair Taylor, Samira Bell, Abirami Veluchamy, Rajendra Pradeepa, Naveed Sattar, Radha Venkatesan, Colin N. A. Palmer, Ewan R. Pearson, Viswanathan Mohan

South Asians in general, and Asian Indians in particular, are at greater risk of early onset type 2 diabetes than white Europeans. This contributes to the higher prevalence of diabetes in people of South Asian descent and the increasing burden of diabetes in South Asia. In this issue, Siddiqui and Anjana et al ( use data from non-migrant populations and show that the prevalence of lean young-onset type 2 diabetes is two to four times higher in Asian Indians compared with white Europeans. This phenotype highlights the potential role of poor insulin secretion due to impaired beta cell function in South Asians. The authors applied partitioned polygenic scores (pPS) for poor beta cell function to genetic data from India, Scotland and the UK Biobank, and report that South Asians have a greater genetic burden of beta cell dysfunction. They find that this genetic risk explains, in part, the higher risk of young-onset type 2 diabetes in lean South Asians. The authors conclude that these findings highlight the inter-ethnic differences in the genetics of diabetes and have implications for diabetes care for South Asians.

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