DPP4 gene variation affects GLP-1 secretion, insulin secretion, and glucose tolerance in humans with high body adiposity

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Anja Böhm, Robert Wagner, Fausto Machicao, Jens Juul Holst, Baptist Gallwitz, Norbert Stefan, Andreas Fritsche, Hans-Ulrich Häring, Harald Staiger

OBJECTIVE: Dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 (DPP-4) cleaves and inactivates the insulinotropic hormones glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and gastric inhibitory polypeptide, collectively termed incretins. DPP-4 inhibitors entered clinical practice as approved therapeutics for type-2 diabetes in 2006. However, inter-individual variance in the responsiveness to DPP-4 inhibitors was reported. Thus, we asked whether genetic variation in the DPP4 gene affects incretin levels, insulin secretion, and glucose tolerance in participants of the TÜbingen Family study for type-2 diabetes (TÜF).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Fourteen common (minor allele frequencies ≥0.05) DPP4 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in 1,976 non-diabetic TÜF participants characterized by oral glucose tolerance tests and bioimpedance measurements. In a subgroup of 168 subjects, plasma incretin levels were determined.

RESULTS: We identified a variant, i.e., SNP rs6741949, in intron 2 of the DPP4 gene that, after correction for multiple comparisons and appropriate adjustment, revealed a significant genotype-body fat interaction effect on glucose-stimulated plasma GLP-1 levels (p = 0.0021). Notably, no genotype-BMI interaction effects were detected (p = 0.8). After stratification for body fat content, the SNP negatively affected glucose-stimulated GLP-1 levels (p = 0.0229), insulin secretion (p = 0.0061), and glucose tolerance (p = 0.0208) in subjects with high body fat content only.

CONCLUSIONS: A common variant, i.e., SNP rs6741949, in the DPP4 gene interacts with body adiposity and negatively affects glucose-stimulated GLP-1 levels, insulin secretion, and glucose tolerance. Whether this SNP underlies the reported inter-individual variance in responsiveness to DPP-4 inhibitors, at least in subjects with high body fat content, remains to be shown.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0181880
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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