Altered LncRNAs Signify an Upstream Link in the Etiology of Type 2 Diabetes - European Medical Journal

Altered LncRNAs Signify an Upstream Link in the Etiology of Type 2 Diabetes

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Researchers from the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF), Chennai, India have unraveled a new-biology link in the etiology of type 2 diabetes as their work1 demonstrated an association of altered long non-coding RNAs (LncRNAs) with accelerated senescence, inflammation and insulin resistance in patients with type diabetes.

This work got a thundering applause and attention at the “FEBS Advanced Lecture Course & 3rd Danube Conference on Epigenetics” held in Budapest, Hungary (9-11 Oct 2018) – when Chandrakumar Sathishkumar, a young scientist from MDRF, presented his poster by being awarded the internationally competitive Youth Travel Fund (YTF) grant support from FEBS (Federation of European Biochemical Societies).

Despite the fact that genetic predisposition for type 2 diabetes is strong in Indians, the so far discovered gene variants could only explain <10% disease-risk. This means we need to look ‘beyond genetics’ and epigenetic mechanisms offer biomarker value addition in the context of molecular pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes that originates from gene-environment interactions. Of late, lncRNAs are considered as most important component of epigenetic signatures and have gradually come into the Omics spotlight for the increased appreciation of their functional importance both in health and disease. “The novelty and uniqueness of our study is that in a clinical diabetes setting, for the first-time, we have demonstrated the altered lncRNAs whose expression levels correlated to senescence instigators, proinflammatory mediators, poor glycemic control and insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes” – says Dr.Muthuswamy Balasubramanyam, an internationally acclaimed Disease-Biologist and corresponding author of the research presentation.

“While our research finding on LncRNAs is indeed a milestone investigation in expanding our understanding on the molecular pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, through furthering research on these lines, we would like to answer the following two questions, 1) Will LncRNA biomarkers qualify as robust indictors of lifestyle modification benefits (diet, exercise, yoga); 2) Can we use LncRNA biomarkers to monitor the diabetes treatment outcomes as well as to predict the risk for diabetic macrovascular (cardiovascular) as well as microvascular (retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy) complications” says senior authors Muthuswamy Balasubramanyam & Viswanathan Mohan.

The research team comprised of Chandrakumar Sathishkumar, Paramasivam Prabu, Viswanathan Mohan & Muthuswamy Balasubramanyam from the Department of Cell & Molecular Biology, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation & Dr.Mohans’ Diabetes Specialities Centre, Chennai, India. This work of translational application got research grant support from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) & Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Government of India.


  1. Sathishkumar C, Prabu P, Mohan V, Balasubramanyam M. Linking a role of lncRNAs (long non-coding RNAs) with insulin resistance, accelerated senescence, and inflammation in patients with type 2 diabetes. Hum Genomics. 2018 Aug 23;12(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s40246-018-0173-3


  • Dr.M.Balasubramanyam, PhD., MNASc., FAPASc
    Dean of Research Studies & Senior Scientist
    Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF)
    4, Conran Smith Road, Gopalapuram
    Chennai – 600086,  India
    Email: [email protected]




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