Diabetes mellitus is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). The major form of diabetes mellitus is type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), which is thus largely responsible for the CHD association in the general population. Recent years have seen major advances in the genetics of T2D, principally through ever-increasing large-scale genome-wide association studies. This article addresses the question of whether this expanding knowledge of the genomics of T2D provides insight into the etiologic relationship between T2D and CHD. We will investigate this relationship by reviewing the evidence for shared genetic loci between T2D and CHD; by examining the formal testing of this interaction (Mendelian randomization studies assessing whether T2D is causal for CHD); and then turn to the implications of this genetic relationship for therapies for CHD, for therapies for T2D, and for therapies that affect both. In conclusion, the growing knowledge of the genetic relationship between T2D and CHD is beginning to provide the promise for improved prevention and treatment of both disorders.
Keywords: coronary artery disease; diabetes mellitus; glucose tolerance test; insulin resistance; risk factor.