Genome-Wide Meta-analysis Identifies Genetic Variants Associated With Glycemic Response to Sulfonylureas
Research design and methods: As an initiative of the Metformin Genetics Plus (MetGen Plus) and the DIabetes REsearCh on patient straTification (DIRECT) consortia, 5,485 white Europeans with type 2 diabetes treated with sulfonylurea were recruited from 6 referral centres in Europe and North America. We first estimated heritability using generalized restricted maximum likelihood (REML) and then undertook GWAS of glycemic response to sulfonylureas measured as HbA1c reduction after 12 months of therapy followed by meta-analysis. These results were supported by acute glipizide challenge in humans who were naïve to type 2 diabetes medications, cis-eQTLs and functional validation in cellular models. Finally, we examined for a possible drug-drug-gene interactions.
Results: After establishing that sulfonylurea response is heritable (37±11%), we identified two independent loci near the GXYLT1 and SLCO1B1 genes associated with HbA1c reduction at a genome-wide scale (p < 5×10-8). The C-allele at rs1234032, near GXYLT1, was associated with 0.14% (1.5 mmol/mol), p=2.39×10−8) lower reduction in HbA1c. Similarly, the C-allele was associated with higher glucose trough levels (β=1.61, p=0.005) in healthy volunteers in the SUGAR-MGH given glipizide (N = 857). In 3, 029 human whole blood samples, the C-allele is a cis-eQTL for increased expression of GXYLT1 (β=0.21, p=2.04×10-58). The C-allele of rs10770791, in an intronic region of SLCO1B1, was associated with 0.11% (1.2 mmol/mol) greater reduction in HbA1c (p=4.80×10−8). In 1,183 human liver samples, the C-allele at rs10770791 is a cis-eQTL for reduced SLCO1B1 expression (p=1.61×10−7) which, together with functional studies in cells expressing SLCO1B1, supports a key role for hepatic SLCO1B1 (encoding OATP1B1) in regulation of sulfonylurea transport. Further, a significant interaction between statin use, sulfonylurea response and SCLO1B1 genotype was observed (p=0.001). In statin non-users, C-allele homozygotes at rs10770791 had a large absolute reduction in HbA1c (0.48±0.12% (5.2±1.26 mmol/mol)), equivalent to initiating a DPP4 inhibitor.
Conclusion: We have identified clinically important genetic effects at genome wide levels of significance, and important drug-drug-gene interactions, which include commonly prescribed statins. With increasing availability of genetic data embedded in clinical records these findings will be important when prescribing glucose-lowering drugs.