, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 7061-7067
Date: 06 Feb 2012

The 4a/4a genotype of the VNTR polymorphism for endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) gene predicts risk for proliferative diabetic retinopathy in Slovenian patients (Caucasians) with type 2 diabetes mellitus

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Thus far only a limited number of studies examined the association between endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) polymorphisms and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). In this report, two polymorphisms in the eNOS gene have been investigated, namely the 894G>T (Glu298Asp) and a 27 bp VNTR (4b/4a), to assess their possible relationships to PDR among Slovenian (Caucasians) type 2 diabetic patients. This cross-sectional case–control study enrolled 577 unrelated Slovenian subjects (Caucasians) with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The case group consisted of 172 patients with PDR and the control group had 405 patients who had no clinical signs of diabetic retinopathy (DR) but did have type 2 diabetes for more than 10 years’ duration. Genotyping of eNOS polymorphisms was carried out with conventional and real-time PCR assays. A significantly higher frequency of the eNOS minor “4a” allele was found in patients with PDR than in controls (23.6 versus 17.7%, p = 0.01). Moreover, the univariate analysis showed a significant association of the 27 bp VNTR 4a/4a genotype and PDR in the recessive model. The odds ratio (OR) of PDR for the 4a/4a genotype to 4b/4a plus 4b/4b was 2.9 (95% CI 1.3–6.2, p = 0.005). Further, the presence of 4a/a genotype was associated with a 3.4-fold (95% CI 1.4–8.6, p = 0.009) increased risk for PDR while adjusted for other risk factors. This is the first study to implicate eNOS 4a/4a homozygous deletion, and hence the “4a” allele, as the genetic risk factors for PDR in Caucasians.

Ines Cilenšek and Sara Mankoč contributed equally to this work.