, Volume 51, Issue 11, pp 1989-1992

Beta cell glucose sensitivity is decreased by 39% in non-diabetic individuals carrying multiple diabetes-risk alleles compared with those with no risk alleles

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis

Novel type 2 diabetes-susceptibility loci have been identified with evidence that individually they mediate the increased diabetes risk through altered pancreatic beta cell function. The aim of this study was to test the cumulative effects of diabetes-risk alleles on measures of beta cell function in non-diabetic individuals.

Methods

A total of 1,211 non-diabetic individuals underwent metabolic assessment including an OGTT, from which measures of beta cell function were derived. Individuals were genotyped at each of the risk loci and then classified according to the total number of risk alleles that they carried. Initial analysis focused on CDKAL1, HHEX/IDE and TCF7L2 loci, which were individually associated with a decrease in beta cell function in our cohort. Risk alleles for CDKN2A/B, SLC30A8, IGF2BP2 and KCNJ11 loci were subsequently included into the analysis.

Results

The diabetes-risk alleles for CDKAL1, HHEX/IDE and TCF7L2 showed an additive model of association with measures of beta cell function. Beta cell glucose sensitivity was decreased by 39% in those individuals with five or more risk alleles compared with those individuals with no risk alleles (geometric mean [SEM]: 84 [1.07] vs 137 [1.11] pmol min−1 m−2 (mmol/l)−1, p = 1.51 × 10−6). The same was seen for the 30 min insulin response (p = 4.17 × 10−7). The relationship remained after adding in the other four susceptibility loci (30 min insulin response and beta cell glucose sensitivity, p < 0.001 and p = 0.003, respectively).

Conclusions/interpretation

This study shows how individual type 2 diabetes-risk alleles combine in an additive manner to impact upon pancreatic beta cell function in non-diabetic individuals.