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Metabolism. 2012 May;61(5):667-71. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2011.09.018. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

Replication and meta-analysis of the gene-environment interaction between body mass index and the interleukin-6 promoter polymorphism with higher insulin resistance.

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Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and HTN, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Insulin resistance (IR) is a complex disorder caused by an interplay of both genetic and environmental factors. Recent studies identified a significant interaction between body mass index (BMI) and the rs1800795 polymorphism of the interleukin-6 gene that influences both IR and onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus, with obese individuals homozygous for the C allele demonstrating the highest level of IR and greatest risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Replication of a gene-environment interaction is important to confirm the validity of the initial finding and extend the generalizability of the results to other populations. Thus, the objective of this study was to replicate this gene-environment interaction on IR in a hypertensive population and perform a meta-analysis with prior published results. The replication analysis was performed using white individuals with hypertension from the Hypertensive Pathotype cohort (N = 311), genotyped for rs1800795. Phenotype studies were conducted after participants consumed 2 diets--high sodium (200 mmol/d) and low sodium (10 mmol/d)--for 7 days each. Measurements for plasma glucose, insulin, and interleukin-6 were obtained after 8 hours of fasting. Insulin resistance was characterized by the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA-IR). In Hypertensive Pathotype, BMI was a significant effect modifier of the relationship between rs1800795 and HOMA-IR; higher BMI was associated with higher HOMA-IR among homozygote CC individuals when compared with major allele G carriers (P = .003). Furthermore, the meta-analysis in 1028 individuals confirmed the result, demonstrating the same significant interaction between rs1800795 and BMI on HOMA-IR (P = 1.05 × 10(-6)). This rare replication of a gene-environment interaction extends the generalizability of the results to hypertension while highlighting this polymorphism as a marker of IR in obese individuals.

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