Aims/hypothesis: The hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-4alpha is an orphan nuclear receptor, which plays crucial roles in regulating hepatic gluconeogenesis and insulin secretion. The gene encoding HNF-4alpha (HNF4A) is located on chromosome 20q12-q13 in a region that in several studies has shown linkage with type 2 diabetes. Recently, two independent studies identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a 90-kb region spanning HNF4A, which showed strong association with type 2 diabetes in the Finnish and Ashkenazi Jewish populations. In an attempt to replicate and extend these findings, we selected four SNPs in the same HNF4A region, which in the Finnish and Ashkenazi Jewish populations were associated with type 2 diabetes, and examined their relationships with type 2 diabetes and prediabetic phenotypes in the Danish Caucasian population.
Methods: The rs1884614, rs2425637, rs1885088 and rs3818247 were analysed in case-control studies of 1387, 1429, 1417 and 1371 type 2 diabetic patients and 4766, 4727, 4665 and 4748 glucose-tolerant subjects respectively. Genotype-quantitative trait analyses comprised 4430, 4394, 4336 and 4413 middle-aged glucose-tolerant subjects from the population-based Inter99 cohort for the rs1884614, rs2425637, rs1885088 and rs3818247 respectively.
Results: The risk allele of the rs1884614, which is located 4 kb upstream of the HNF4A P2 promoter, was associated with type 2 diabetes (odds ratio [OR]=1.14, p=0.02) and with a subtle increase in post-OGTT plasma glucose levels in glucose-tolerant subjects (additive model, p=0.05).
Conclusions/interpretation: Consistent with results from studies of Finnish and Ashkenazi Jewish subjects, variation near the P2 region of HNF4A is associated with type 2 diabetes in the Danish population.