Novel Association of HK1 with Glycated Hemoglobin in a Non-Diabetic Population: A Genome-Wide Evaluation of 14,618 Participants in the Women's Genome Health Study
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Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. While genetic variants have been found to influence the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, relatively few studies have focused on genes associated with glycated hemoglobin, an index of the mean blood glucose concentration of the preceding 8-12 weeks. Epidemiologic studies and randomized clinical trials have documented the relationship between glycated hemoglobin levels and the development of long-term complications in diabetes; moreover, higher glycated hemoglobin levels in the subdiabetic range have been shown to predict type 2 diabetes risk and cardiovascular disease. To examine the common genetic determinants of glycated hemoglobin levels, we performed a genome-wide association study that evaluated 337,343 SNPs in 14,618 apparently healthy Caucasian women. The results show that glycated hemoglobin levels are associated with genetic variation at the GCK (rs730497; P = 2.8 x 10(-12)), SLC30A8 (rs13266634; P = 9.8 x 10(-8)), G6PC2 (rs1402837; P = 6.8 x 10(-10)), and HK1 (rs7072268; P = 6.4 x 10(-9)) loci. While associations at the GCK, SLC30A8, and G6PC2 loci are confirmatory, the findings at HK1 are novel. We were able to replicate this novel association in an independent validation sample of 455 additional non-diabetic men and women. HK1 encodes the enzyme hexokinase, the first step in glycolysis and a likely candidate for the control of glucose metabolism. This observed genetic association between glycated hemoglobin levels and HK1 polymorphisms paves the way for further studies of the role of HK1 in hemoglobin glycation, glucose metabolism, and diabetes.
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