Study of the Connections Between Lipids and Diabetes by Sex

A study led by Dr. Dídac Mauricio, head of the Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition Group at the Sant Pau Research Institute (IR Sant Pau) and the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service at Sant Pau Hospital, in collaboration with various groups from CIBERDEM, has revealed the significant association of 54 lipids with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as their differentiation by sex and glycemic status. This work has been published in the journal Cardiovascular Diabetology and has had the collaboration of the CIBER-BBN team from B2SLab at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

The study, which involved 360 individuals with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and normoglycemia as controls, employed ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry to detect 9,279 lipid features. In total, 54 lipids were identified as significantly associated with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and sex differences, in addition to 14 lipids related to glycemic status.

According to Dr. Mauricio, “this work represents an important step towards understanding the underlying mechanisms of diabetes and its variations by sex. Our findings suggest an intimate connection between certain lipids and the pathophysiology of the disease, which could open new therapeutic avenues and preventive strategies.”

The study has revealed connections between specific lipids and underlying molecular mechanisms in both forms of diabetes. Additionally, ceramides related to insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes were found, and their progressive increase related to glycemic status suggests an association with disease progression. Notably, greater overexpression of ceramides was observed in women with type 2 diabetes compared to men, which could be related to the average age of the female population in the study and its link to menopause and cardiovascular and renal comorbidities.

According to the researchers leading this article, the work, “in addition to contributing to the detailed knowledge of lipids associated with both types of diabetes and glycemic status, highlights the importance of conducting sex differentiation in studies of these diseases, as well as establishing sex-specific strategies in the control and research of diabetes and its associated comorbidities. Furthermore, it points to the relevance of lipidomics in advancing personalized medicine.”

Reference article

Barranco-Altirriba, M., Alonso, N., Weber, R.J.M. et al. Lipidome characterisation and sex-specific differences in type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cardiovasc Diabetol 23, 109 (2024).

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