Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Georgia State: Oxidative Stress Biomarkers Don’t Always Signal Diabetes Risk

High levels of compounds found in the body that are commonly associated with oxidative damage may actually be a good sign for some people, according to a recent review of multiple human studies led by an epidemiologist at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

[Photo: Dr. Dora Il’yasova]

Compounds known as F2-isoprostanes are conventionally interpreted as indicators or “biomarkers” of harmful oxidative stress detectable in human tissues and bodily fluids, researchers stated. These molecules are footprints of highly reactive free radicals, which are mainly formed in normal processes of energy metabolism.

“It has been hypothesized that elevated F2-isoprostane levels—as biomarkers of oxidative stress—will predict increased risk of type 2 diabetes,” the researchers said. But the hypothesis didn’t hold true when the risk of diabetes was examined in a multi-ethnic study group. The study found that elevated levels of F2-isoprostanes are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes. Researchers explained their results by connecting elevated F2-isoprostane levels to the intensity of energy metabolism, which is known to be protective against obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study also discovered racial differences in F2-isoprostanes.

While African-Americans are at increased risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes, they generally have lower levels of F2-isoprostanes, the researchers noted in their review. They also noted a study conducted among Atlanta’s West African Immigrants, African Americans, and non-Hispanic Whites, which clearly demonstrated that African ancestry is associated with lower F2-isoprostane levels.

The researchers also analyzed studies that pointed to an association between increased F2-isoprostane levels and physical exercise—an intervention against developing obesity and type 2 diabetes.

“As African Americans show lower systemic levels of F2-isoprostanes, using these non-invasive biomarkers can enable the development of pharmacological and/or life style interventions targeted to the reduction of metabolic risks among African Americans,” the researchers said.

Their review summarized 132 publications focused on racial differences in predisposition to obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States and global research on F2-isoprostanes and human health; these studies ranged from socioeconomic and environmental factors determining racial disparities to human molecular studies on F2-isoprostanes.

The researchers’ findings are published in Diversity and Equality in Health and Care in the review article “Systemic F2-Isopropstane Levels in Predisposition to Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes: Emphasis on Racial Differences.” The article’s lead author is Dr. Dora Il’yasova, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Georgia State.

The article’s authors also include Dr. Ike Okosun, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Georgia State; Dr. Brett J. Wong, assistant professor of kinesiology and health at Georgia State; Ms. Anna Waterstone, a medical student at Wake Forest University; and Dr. Alexander Kinev with Creative Scientist Inc.