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Genetic Risk Score for Type 2 Diabetes and Traits Related to Glucose-Insulin Homeostasis in Youth: The Exploring Perinatal Outcomes Among Children (EPOCH) Study

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posted on 13.07.2021, 15:00 by Maggie A. Stanislawski, Elizabeth Litkowski, Sridharan Raghavan, Kylie K. Harrall, Jessica Shaw, Deborah H. Glueck, Ethan M. Lange, Dana Dabelea, Leslie A. Lange
Objective: The metabolic phenotype of youth-onset type 2 diabetes (T2D) differs from that of adult-onset T2D, but little is known about genetic contributions. We aimed to evaluate the association between a T2D genetic risk score (GRS) and traits related to glucose-insulin homeostasis among healthy youth. Research Design and Methods: We used data from 356 youth (mean age 16.7 years, 50% female) in the EPOCH cohort to calculate a standardized weighted GRS based on 271 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with T2D in adults. We used linear regression to assess associations of the GRS with log-transformed fasting glucose, 2-hour glucose, homeostasis model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), oral disposition index, and insulinogenic index adjusted for age, sex, body mass index (BMI) z-score, in utero exposure to maternal diabetes, and genetic principal components. We also evaluated effect modification by BMI z-score, in utero exposure to maternal diabetes and ethnicity. Results: Higher weighted GRS was associated with lower oral disposition index (b=-0.11; 95% CI: -0.19, -0.02) and insulinogenic index (b=-0.08; 95% CI: -0.17, -0.001), but not with fasting glucose (b=0.01; 95% CI: -0.01, 0.02), 2-hour glucose (b=0.03; 95% CI: -0.0004, 0.06), or HOMA-IR (b=0.02; 95% CI: -0.04, 0.07). BMI z-score and in utero exposure to maternal diabetes increased the effect of the GRS on glucose levels. Conclusions: Our results suggest that T2D genetic risk factors established in adults are relevant to glucose-insulin homeostasis in youth and that maintaining a healthy weight may be particularly important for youth with high genetic risk for T2D.


This work was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) grant no. R01-DK068001. SR is supported by Award #P30DK116073 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the US National Institutes of Health, and by the Boettcher Foundation.