The PC-1 gene may be responsible for thegrowing statistics of diabetes, obesity, hypertension,heart disease, and some forms ofcancer. Researchers have suspected that anindividual's genetic makeup could be the culpritbehind many cases of insulin resistance.Early research, however, ruled out the primarygenetic suspects rather than implicating them.
The current study involving >6000 individualsin France buoyed findings from 10 yearsago that high levels of PC-1 are most likelyresponsible for some of the problems.Although everyone has the gene, the researchersnoted that some individuals havea form of it that not only is overactive but alsois overproduced in the body. For this population,insulin does not work effectively, and sothe body tries to overcompensate. Thisaction can wear out the pancreas and triggertype 2 diabetes, or it can burden the kidneysand result in hypertension. The researchersnow think that, if too much PC-1 is producedin the brain, individuals do not get adequatelyfull after eating, leading to obesity. (Thefindings were reported in Nature Genetics,August 2005.)