BACKGROUND: Variants in TCF7L2 have been associated with the age at onset of type 2 diabetes in Mexican Americans. However, there is a lack of data on this relationship in Caucasians. Furthermore, risk alleles in TCF7L2 have been suggested to account for decreased conversion of proinsulin to insulin and decreased expression of GLP-1. We investigated the effect of the allelic variants rs1225537 and rs7903146 in TCF7L2 on the age at onset of type 2 diabetes, the plasma concentrations of proinsulin and GLP-1, and the ratio of proinsulin to insulin in a German cohort. METHODS: We studied 3185 participants of the LUdwigshafen RIsk and Cardiovascular health (LURIC) study. Among these, 1021 subjects had type 2 diabetes. Data on age at onset of diabetes were available in 925 subjects. OGTTs were performed in a subgroup not previously known to have diabetes. RESULTS: Carriers of the risk alleles in rs1225537 and rs7901346 had increased risk of type 2 diabetes and elevated HbA(1c) (all p < 0.001). The risk alleles were also associated with early onset of type 2 diabetes, decreased insulin secretion and markedly increased proinsulin and proinsulin to insulin ratio (all p < 0.03). GLP-1 was not significantly related to the TCF7L2 genotype. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that TCF7L2 variants are associated with an early age of onset of type 2 diabetes in Caucasians and affects the conversion of proinsulin to insulin. However, TCF7L2 is not consistently associated with fasting GLP-1.
Silbernagel, G., Renner, W., Grammer, T. B., Hügl, S. R., Bertram, J., Kleber, M. E., … Boehm, B. O. (2011). Association of TCF7L2 SNPs with age at onset of type 2 diabetes and proinsulin/insulin ratio but not with glucagon-like peptide 1. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, 27(5), 499–505. https://doi.org/10.1002/dmrr.1194