Aims/hypothesis: Several susceptibility genes for type 2 diabetes have been discovered recently. Individually, these genes increase the disease risk only minimally. The goals of the present study were to determine, at the population level, the risk of diabetes in individuals who carry risk alleles within several susceptibility genes for the disease and the added value of this genetic information over the clinical predictors.
Methods: We constructed an additive genetic score using the most replicated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within 15 type 2 diabetes-susceptibility genes, weighting each SNP with its reported effect. We tested this score in the extensively phenotyped population-based cross-sectional CoLaus Study in Lausanne, Switzerland (n = 5,360), involving 356 diabetic individuals.
Results: The clinical predictors of prevalent diabetes were age, BMI, family history of diabetes, WHR, and triacylglycerol/HDL-cholesterol ratio. After adjustment for these variables, the risk of diabetes was 2.7 (95% CI 1.8-4.0, p = 0.000006) for individuals with a genetic score within the top quintile, compared with the bottom quintile. Adding the genetic score to the clinical covariates improved the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve slightly (from 0.86 to 0.87), yet significantly (p = 0.002). BMI was similar in these two extreme quintiles.
Conclusions/interpretation: In this population, a simple weighted 15 SNP-based genetic score provides additional information over clinical predictors of prevalent diabetes. At this stage, however, the clinical benefit of this genetic information is limited.