Biomarkers of Pre-diabetes

Metabolomics studies have revealed that three metabolites are candidate biomarkers for pre-diabetes – an early form of type 2 diabetes. With the aid of these biomarkers, the disease can be detected soon enough to halt or even prevent its development. 

Pre-diabetes is the early form of type 2 diabetes, one of the most important common diseases. Between about eight to ten percent of the German population suffers from this disease, and its incidence is increasing rapidly. In the pre-diabetic stage, the further development of the disease can be largely prevented, for example by dietary changes or increased physical activity. Up to now, however, no specific biomarkers have been available to reliably detect pre-diabetes.

In an interdisciplinary study led by Rui Wang-Sattler, scientists of the Research Unit
Molecular Epidemiology, in collaboration with researchers from the Institutes of Structural
Biology, Human Genetics, Experimental Genetics, Epidemiology II, the Genome Analysis Center and from partner institutes in the German Center for Diabetes Research identified three candidate biomarkers for pre-diabetes, two of which predicted the risk of the disease in individuals. Using a metabolomics approach, they quantified 140 metabolites in 4297 serum samples of the population-based Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA) cohort. The results were independently confirmed from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Potsdam study.

As the concentration of the biomarkers in blood are indicative of pre-diabetes, this study suggests that preventive measures can be taken The three metabolites are glycine, acetylcarnitine C2 and lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) 18:2.

Metabolomics is the systematic study of the small-molecule ­metabolite profiles of an organism. The analysis is performed by means of mass spectrometry or using an NMR spectrometry.



Three candidate biomarkers for pre-diabetes associated with seven type 2 diabetes-related genes.; Source: HMGU