An international team of researchers has found that blood levels of the protein follistatin can predict whether a person will develop type 2 diabetes, and this can be done 19 years before the onset of the disease. This is stated in an article by scientists published in the journal Nature Communications.
Researchers monitored the health of more than five thousand patients in Finland and Sweden for four to 19 years.
They found that high blood levels of follistatin could predict disease onset up to 19 years, regardless of other risk factors such as body mass index, age, blood glucose, diet and physical activity.
Scientists have found that follistatin promotes the breakdown of fat in adipose tissue, which in turn leads to the accumulation of lipids in the liver. Their high concentration threatens to develop into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
A genome-wide association search conducted among 5,000 British, Italians and Swedes showed that follistatin levels are controlled in the body by a regulatory protein called glucokinase (GKRP).
Now scientists are working to create a diagnostic device that will predict the risk of developing diabetes in a person by the content of follistatin.