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Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2013 Aug;6(4):391-9. doi: 10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.113.000042. Epub 2013 Jul 16.

Do genetic modifiers of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels also modify their response to a lifestyle intervention in the setting of obesity and type-2 diabetes mellitus?: The Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) study.

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Molecular Cardiology Research Institute, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides are cardiovascular risk factors susceptible to lifestyle behavior modification and genetics. We hypothesized that genetic variants identified by genome-wide association studies as associated with HDL-C or triglyceride levels modify 1-year treatment response to an intensive lifestyle intervention, relative to a usual care of diabetes mellitus support and education.


We evaluated 82 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, which represent 31 loci demonstrated by genome-wide association studies to be associated with HDL-C and triglycerides, in 3561 participants who consented for genetic studies and met eligibility criteria. Variants associated with higher baseline HDL-C levels, cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) rs3764261 and hepatic lipase (LIPC) rs8034802, were found to be associated with HDL-C increases with intensive lifestyle intervention (P=0.0038 and 0.013, respectively) and had nominally significant treatment interactions (P=0.047 and 0.046, respectively). The fatty acid desaturase-2 rs1535 variant, associated with low baseline HDL-C (P=0.017), was associated with HDL-C increases with intensive lifestyle intervention (0.0037) and had a nominal treatment interaction (P=0.035). Apolipoprotein B (rs693) and LIPC (rs8034802) single-nucleotide polymorphisms showed nominally significant associations with HDL-C and triglyceride changes with intensive lifestyle intervention and a treatment interaction (P<0.05). Phosphatidylglycerophosphate synthase-1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (rs4082919) showed the most significant triglyceride treatment interaction in the full cohort (P=0.0009).


This is the first study to identify genetic variants modifying lipid responses to a randomized lifestyle behavior intervention in overweight or obese individuals with diabetes mellitus. The effects of genetic factors on lipid changes may differ from the effects on baseline lipids and are modifiable by behavioral intervention.


behavior therapy; cholesterylester transfer; genomics; lipoproteins; physiological protein genetics; triglycerides

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