The common polymorphisms KCNJ11 E23K and ABCC8 A1369S have been consistently associated with type 2 diabetes. We examined whether these variants are also associated with progression from impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) to diabetes and responses to preventive interventions in the Diabetes Prevention Program. We genotyped both variants in 3,534 participants and performed Cox regression analysis using genotype, intervention, and their interactions as predictors of diabetes incidence over approximately 3 years. We also assessed the effect of genotype on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity at 1 year. As previously shown in other studies, lysine carriers at KCNJ11 E23K had reduced insulin secretion at baseline; however, they were less likely to develop diabetes than E/E homozygotes. Lysine carriers were less protected by 1-year metformin treatment than E/E homozygotes (P < 0.02). Results for ABCC8 A1369S were essentially identical to those for KCNJ11 E23K. We conclude that the lysine variant in KCNJ11 E23K leads to diminished insulin secretion in individuals with IGT. Given our contrasting results compared with case-control analyses, we hypothesize that its effect on diabetes risk may occur before the IGT-to-diabetes transition. We further hypothesize that the diabetes-preventive effect of metformin may interact with the impact of these variants on insulin regulation.
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