The TCF7L2 rs7903146 variant is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, the mechanisms involved in this association remain unknown and may include extrapancreatic effects. The aim of this study was to perform a metabolic characterization of T2DM patients with and without the TCF7L2 rs7903146 risk T allele and analyze some influences of the TCF7L2 genotype on glucose metabolism.
Patients with T2DM (n = 162) were genotyped for the TCF7L2 rs7903146 single nucleotide polymorphism. Individuals with CT/TT and CC genotypes were compared regarding basal serum levels of glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin A1C, HDL, uric acid, insulin, and C-peptide. A subset of 56 individuals was evaluated during a 500-calorie mixed-meal test with measurements of glucose, insulin, proinsulin, C-peptide and glucagon. Additional secondary assessments included determination of insulinogenic index (IGI30), and insulin sensitivity (%S) and resistance (IR) by Homeostatic model assessment (HOMA).
Patients with the CT/TT genotype showed lower baseline plasma concentrations of C-peptide when compared with those with the CC genotype. Of the 56 individuals who participated in the mixed-meal test, 26 and 30 had the CC and CT/TT genotypes, respectively. CT/TT subjects, compared with CC individuals, had higher post prandial plasma levels of insulin and C-peptide at 30–120 min (p < 0.05) and proinsulin at 45–240 min (p < 0.05). Interestingly CT/TT individuals presented at baseline higher %S (p = 0.021), and lower IR (p = 0.020) than CC individuals. No significant differences in IGI30 values were observed between groups.
The T2DM individuals carrying the rs7903146 T allele of the TCF7L2 gene presented higher IR pattern in response to a mix-meal test, different of beta cell function at baseline assessed by C-peptide levels which was lower, and Homa-IR was lower when comparing with non-carriers.