Researchers identify genetic variant linked with coronary heart disease in type 2 diabetes

Aug. 29, 2013

Scientists at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center, working with researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Italian research institutes, have identified a previously unknown genetic variant associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in type 2 diabetic patients. This discovery could lead to the development of new treatments for CHD in patients with diabetes.

It is known that genetic factors influence susceptibility to CHD in the general population, but studies have suggested that the genetic factors related to CHD risk may be different in the diabetic population. Researchers conducted genome-wide association analyses of 1,517 type 2 diabetic patients with CHD and 2,671 type 2 diabetic subjects without CHD. They compared the results to analyses of 737 non-diabetic participants with CHD and 1,637 non-diabetic participants without.

A genetic variant in the region of the GLUL gene was identified that is associated with an increased risk of CHD in people with type 2 diabetes. “It is a common genetic variant that becomes important in the presence of diabetes. You need the presence of both diabetes and the variant to increase the risk of CHD,” says Alessandro Doria, MD, PhD, MPH, co-senior author. Adds co-senior author Lu Qi, MD, PhD, “This finding may have particularly important implications regarding prevention and reduction of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality through dietary and lifestyle intervention in diabetic patients.” Read the study abstract.