One of the many risk factors identified for Type 2 diabetes is a gene known as KLF14. This gene is a transcription factor, meaning it is involved in the regulation and expression of many other genes. Previous research studies have found that this gene has a greater effect in women than in men. A study published by Dr. Mete Civelek, an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University, found that this gene was specifically active in fat tissue.
According to Civelek, the study took samples of belly fat tissue from different groups of people in England, Finland, Iceland and the United States. Then, the researchers measured different levels of gene expression using the tissues.
“We also characterized these individuals — the participants who were donating fat tissue from their belly area— for things that are relevant to Type 2 diabetes such as their cholesterol levels, insulin and glucose levels [and] inflammatory markers in their blood,” Civelek said.