Context: Genome-wide association scans (GWAS) have identified novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that increase T2D susceptibility and indicated the role of nearby genes in T2D pathogenesis. Objective: We hypothesized that T2D-associated SNPs act as cis-regulators of nearby genes in human tissues and that expression of these transcripts may correlate with metabolic traits, including insulin sensitivity (SI). Design, Settings, and Patients: Association of SNPs with the expression of their nearest transcripts was tested in adipose and muscle from 168 healthy individuals who spanned a broad range of S I and body mass index (BMI) and in transformed lymphocytes (TLs). We tested correlations between the expression of these transcripts in adipose and muscle with metabolic traits. Utilizing allelic expression imbalance (AEI) analysis we examined the presence of other cis-regulators for those transcripts in TLs. Results: SNP rs9472138 was significantly (P=0.037) associated with the expression of VEGFA in TLs while rs6698181 was detected as a cis-regulator for the PKN2 in muscle (P = 0.00027) and adipose (P = 0.018). Significant association was also observed for rs17036101 (P = 0.001) with expression of SYN2 in adipose of Caucasians. Among 19 GWAS-implicated transcripts, expression of VEGFA in adipose was correlated with BMI (r=-0.305) and SI (r = 0.230). Although only a minority of the T2D-associated SNPs were validated as cis-eQTLs for nearby transcripts, AEI analysis indicated presence of other cis-regulatory polymorphisms in 54% of these transcripts. Conclusions: Our study suggests that a small subset of GWAS-identified SNPs may increase T2D susceptibility by modulating expression of nearby transcripts in adipose or muscle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical