Genetic Modifiers of Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes Have Extensive Overlap With Type 2 Diabetes and Related Traits

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 May 1;105(5):1401-1415. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgz102.


Context: Individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF) develop a distinct form of diabetes characterized by β-cell dysfunction and islet amyloid accumulation similar to type 2 diabetes (T2D), but generally have normal insulin sensitivity. CF-related diabetes (CFRD) risk is determined by both CFTR, the gene responsible for CF, and other genetic variants.

Objective: To identify genetic modifiers of CFRD and determine the genetic overlap with other types of diabetes.

Design and patients: A genome-wide association study was conducted for CFRD onset on 5740 individuals with CF. Weighted polygenic risk scores (PRSs) for type 1 diabetes (T1D), T2D, and diabetes endophenotypes were tested for association with CFRD.

Results: Genome-wide significance was obtained for variants at a novel locus (PTMA) and 2 known CFRD genetic modifiers (TCF7L2 and SLC26A9). PTMA and SLC26A9 variants were CF-specific; TCF7L2 variants also associated with T2D. CFRD was strongly associated with PRSs for T2D, insulin secretion, postchallenge glucose concentration, and fasting plasma glucose, and less strongly with T1D PRSs. CFRD was inconsistently associated with PRSs for insulin sensitivity and was not associated with a PRS for islet autoimmunity. A CFRD PRS comprising variants selected from these PRSs (with a false discovery rate < 0.1) and the genome-wide significant variants was associated with CFRD in a replication population.

Conclusions: CFRD and T2D have more etiologic and mechanistic overlap than previously known, aligning along pathways involving β-cell function rather than insulin sensitivity. Two CFRD risk loci are unrelated to T2D and may affect multiple aspects of CF. An 18-variant PRS stratifies risk of CFRD in an independent population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / epidemiology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Genes, Modifier*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult