Genetic study of Saudi diabetes (GSSD): significant association of the KCNJ11 E23K polymorphism with type 2 diabetes

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2008 Feb;24(2):137-40. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.777.


Background: The E23K variant of KCNJ11 has been associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) in several but not all populations studied. Thus far, despite a high incidence of T2D, the role of this variant in Arabs has not been established.

Methods: We performed a case-control association study using 550 T2D Saudi patients (WHO criteria), and 335 controls (age>or=60; fasting plasma glucose<7 mmol/L). E23K genotyping was performed by using molecular beacon-based real time PCR assays.

Results: The difference in K or risk allele frequency of cases and controls was significant with an OR of 1.7 (p=0.0001). The K allele is more common among T2D patients (21%) than in the age and sex matched controls (13.6%). This was consistent with a likely eventual conversion to T2D of younger normoglycemic individuals as they grow older.

Conclusions: Our results report for the first time a positive association of the E23K variant with T2D in an Arab population. Confirmation by a larger study is indicated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arabs / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying / genetics*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology


  • Kir6.2 channel
  • Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying