A new study in the journal Diabetologia is the first to show that specific ABO blood groups may be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, although the mechanisms underlying the connection are unknown. Researchers analyzed data from the large prospective E3N cohort study of 82,104 women to investigate the association of ABO blood group, Rhesus factor, and a combination of the two (ABOxRhesus) with type 2 diabetes risk), as well as the influence of fasting plasma glucose and lipid concentration on the relationship between blood group and type 2 diabetes risk. 

Compared to individuals with the O blood group, patients with either A or B groups were at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, but the increased risk was not statistically significant with the AB group. The highest risk was seen for those with the B+ blood group (HR 1.35, [95% CI 1.13, 1.60]), followed by A+ and A− groups (HR 1.17 [95% CI 1.02, 1.35] and 1.22 [95% CI 1.03, 1.45], respectively). No association was also observed between Rhesus group and type 2 diabetes risk, nor fasting plasma glucose or lipid concentration with ABO blood group or Rhesus factor.

 The authors suggest that the human ABO locus may influence endothelial or inflammation markers, plasma soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), and TNF receptor 2 (TNF-R2) levels, which have been linked to an increased type 2 diabetes risk.

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