Study: Progression to Type 2 diabetes among genetically prone individuals.

Study purpose: In people with a genetic "SNP" variant predisposing them to Type 2 diabetes, the 10-year risk of developing diabetes is 40 percent. Why don't the other 60 percent develop diabetes?

Number of study participants: 40

Funding? National Institutes of Health

Study participants: Most were Mayo Clinic Biobank participants whose donated blood samples showed they had the genetic variation being studied.

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Study question: How does the "SNP" genetic variation affect Type 2 progression?

Participants: Half had the "SNP" genetic variant, half didn't.

In healthy people, insulin gets released from the pancreas in bursts instead of a constant seep, said Dr. Adrian Vella.

"It's like Morse code almost," Vella said. Like dots and dashes of insulin that the body puts out to help sugars get into the cells.

"So, in a sense, the pancreas has like a natural pacemaker," Vella said. As Type 2 diabetes begins to occur, the insulin bursts' speed decreases.

"We're trying to determine, how early in the progression to pre-diabetes does that change?" Vella said.

There's a gene with a genetic variation called a "single nucleotide polymorphism" or SNP (pronounced "snip") that predisposes people to Type 2 diabetes.

Individuals with that genetic predisposition were recruited for a study that places an arterial line into the hepatic vein in order to measure insulin bursts as close to their pancreatic origin as possible. It's an invasive procedure.

Spencer Berge, of Kasson, had previously signed up for the Mayo Clinic Biobank. The Biobank has accepted blood samples from more than 44,000 people so far. Many are from Rochester and southeastern Minnesota.

Berge was asked if he would join the arterial-line study and he agreed.

His hospital stay at the Clinical Research and Trials Unit at the Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys Campus required a trip to interventional radiology for placement of the arterial line to make it easier to measure insulin bursts.

Berge said he participates in studies to help Mayo Clinic.

"Being part of this, it's a good feeling," he said.