Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully identified genetic loci associated with glycemic traits. However, characterizing the functional significance of these loci has proven challenging. We sought to gain insights into the regulation of fasting insulin and fasting glucose through the use of gene expression microarray data from peripheral blood samples of non-diabetic participants in the Framingham Heart Study (n=5,056), the Rotterdam Study (n=723), and the InCHIANTI Study (n=595). Using a false discovery rate q<0.05, we identified three transcripts associated with fasting glucose and 433 transcripts associated with fasting insulin levels after adjusting for age, sex, technical covariates, and complete blood cell counts. Among the findings, circulating IGF2BP2 transcript levels were positively associated with fasting insulin in both the Framingham Heart Study and the Rotterdam Study. Using 1000 Genomes-imputed genotype data, we identified 47,587 cis-expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and 6,695 trans-eQTL associated with the 433 significant insulin-associated transcripts. Of note, we identified a trans-eQTL (rs592423), where the A-allele was associated with higher IGF2BP2 levels and with fasting insulin in an independent genetic meta-analysis comprised of 50,823 individuals. We conclude that integration of genomic and transcriptomic data implicate circulating IGF2BP2 mRNA levels associated with glucose and insulin homeostasis.
- Received April 22, 2016.
- Accepted August 31, 2016.
- © 2016 by the American Diabetes Association.