Background: Prospective studies have shown that low levels of circulating insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) are associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes. In the present study, we investigated DNA methylation in the IGFBP1 gene to evaluate its changes in relation to serum IGFBP-1 levels in type 2 diabetes.
Results: A total of 406 Swedish men, including age-matched normal glucose tolerance subjects and type 2 diabetes patients either newly diagnosed or undergoing treatment, were selected from the Stockholm Diabetes Prevention Program. IGFBP1 methylation levels in genomic DNA extracted from peripheral blood were analysed by bisulfite pyrosequencing. Serum IGFBP-1 levels were measured by radio-immunoassay. We found that IGFBP1 DNA methylation levels were higher in both newly diagnosed and treated type 2 diabetes patients with a mean diabetes duration of 3 years compared with subjects with normal glucose tolerance (19.8% and 20.2% vs. 16.9%, P < 0.001 for both). Serum levels of IGFBP-1 in newly diagnosed and in treated type 2 diabetes patients were lower compared with healthy individuals (18 μg/l both vs. 24 μg/l, P = 0.011, P < 0.001). IGFBP1 methylation levels but not serum IGFBP-1 levels in type 2 diabetes patients were independent of body mass index. Newly diagnosed patients with a family history of diabetes (FHD) had higher IGFBP1 methylation levels than those without FHD (20.3% vs. 18.6%, P = 0.017).
Conclusions: This study provides the first evidence that changes in DNA methylation of the IGFBP1 gene are associated with type 2 diabetes in Swedish men and suggests that increased IGFBP1 DNA methylation and decreased IGFBP-1 serum levels are features of type 2 diabetes with a short duration.