Insulin resistance is polygenic in origin, and can be observed at an early age. We have shown that variations in APOC3-482T>C and hepatic lipase (LIPC)-514C>T), individually (APOC3 alone) and interactively, modulate insulin and glucose levels after an OGTT in young healthy men participating in the European Atherosclerosis Research Study II (EARSII). Variation in the insulin gene (INS) variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) has been found to predispose to type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We have evaluated the HphI site 23 bp upstream of the INS gene (a surrogate marker for the VNTR) in EARSII (n=822), to determine if variation in INS contributes to insulin resistance. Carriers of the INS VNTR class III (HphI-) allele (frequency=0.29 (95%CI 0.27, 0.31)) had significantly higher 60-min insulin concentrations after the OGTT (P=0.014) and a marginally higher AUC insulin (P=0.07), compared to class I (HphI+) homozygotes. However, this effect on AUC insulin was modified by the level of physical activity, displaying significant gene:environment interaction (P=0.03). We tested for gene:gene interaction between the INS VNTR and both the LIPC-514C>T and APOC3-482T>C. While there was a significant interaction between INS VNTR and LIPC-514C>T on AUC glucose (P=0.013) and on AUC insulin (P=0.015), there was no interaction with APOC3-482T>C. Thus, despite a modest effect of the INS VNTR alone, the influence of this variant on insulin sensitivity was modified by gene:environment and gene:gene interactions, illustrating the biological complexity of insulin resistance.

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Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Department of Clinical Chemistry

Waterworth, D., Jansen, H., Nicaud, V., Humphries, S., & Talmud, P. J. (2005). Interaction between insulin (VNTR) and hepatic lipase (LIPC-514C>T) variants on the response to an oral glucose tolerance test in the EARSII group of young healthy men. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease, 1740(3), 375–381. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2004.09.007