MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lu Qi, MD, PhD, FAHA
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Assistant Professor of Nutrition
Harvard School of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Answer: The main findings include, we for the first time identified a genetic variant predisposing to high risk of coronary heart disease in patients with type 2 diabetes, using genome-wide association (GWA) approach. More interesting, we demonstrated that the variant may affect expression of a gene involved in metabolism of amino acid glutamic acid, which has been related to insulin secretion and heart health in previous studies.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Answer: It is not surprising to find novel genetic variants that are related to heart disease specifically in diabetic patients, because these patients have several folds higher risk of heart disease as compared with non-diabetic population. The effects of some genetic variants may be only expressed or exaggerated in diabetic patients, who are characterized by a variety of metabolic abnormalities such as high glucose, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and obesity.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Answer: Our findings show evidence that elevated cardiovascular risk complicated to diabetes is at least partly determined by genetics; and open possibility to development of new therapeutic approach targeting the pathway related to glutamic acid metabolism. In addition, it is of great interest to further study potential lifestyle and dietary factors that may affect metabolism of amino acids glutamine and glutamic acid.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
First, I would recommend more population studies to validate our findings, especially in other ethnic populations.
Second, functional studies would be the essential next step to illustrate the precise mechanisms underlying the genetic effects.
Finally, I strongly suggest epidemiologist to investigate lifestyle and dietary factors that may affect glutamic acid metabolism. These findings would be important regarding prevention of heart disease in diabetic patients.
Qi L, Qi Q, Prudente S, et al. Association Between a Genetic Variant Related to Glutamic Acid Metabolism and Coronary Heart Disease in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes. JAMA. 2013;310(8):821-828. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.276305.