Aims/hypothesis: Recent genome-wide association studies have suggested that a polymorphism in GCKR, the gene encoding the glucokinase regulatory protein, is involved in triacylglycerol regulation. Our aim was to examine in large-scale studies the common GCKR rs780094 polymorphism in relation to metabolic traits (mainly fasting hypertriacylglycerolaemia) and traits related to pancreatic beta cell function.
Methods: The polymorphism was genotyped in 16,853 Danes using Taqman allelic discrimination. Association was analysed in case-control studies and quantitative trait analyses. We also analysed the possible interactive effect between the GCK -30G>A polymorphism and the GCKR rs780094 variant on metabolic traits.
Results: The minor GCKR A-allele of rs780094 is associated with an increased level of fasting serum triacylglycerol (p = 6 x 10(-14)), impaired fasting (p = 0.001) and OGTT-related insulin release (p = 3 x 10(-6)), reduced homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (p = 0.0004), WHO-defined dyslipidaemia (p = 6 x 10(-9)) and a modestly decreased risk of type 2 diabetes (p = 0.01). Significantly increased fasting serum insulin concentrations were demonstrated when analysing the GCK -30A and GCKR rs780094 G-alleles in an additive model.
Conclusions/interpretation: The GCKR rs780094 polymorphism, or another variant with which it is in tight linkage disequilibrium, is likely to increase glucokinase regulatory protein activity to induce improved glycaemic regulation at the expense of hypertriacylglycerolaemia as reflected in the present study of 16,853 Danes. We also suggest an additive effect of GCK and GCKR risk alleles on [corrected] serum insulin release.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00237548.