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AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: An APOC3 promoter haplotype has been previously associated with type 1 diabetes. In this population-based study, we investigated whether APOC3 polymorphisms increase type 2 diabetes risk and need for insulin treatment in lean participants. METHODS: In the Rotterdam Study, a population-based prospective cohort (n = 7,983), Cox and logistic regression models were used to analyse the associations and interactive effects of APOC3 promoter variants (-482C > T, -455T > C) and BMI on type 2 diabetes risk and insulin treatment. Analyses were followed by replication in an independent case-control sample (1,817 cases, 2,292 controls) and meta-analysis. RESULTS: In lean participants, the -482T allele was associated with increased risk of prevalent and incident type 2 diabetes: OR -482CT 1.47 (95% CI 1.13-1.92), -482TT 1.40 (95% CI 0.83-2.35), p = 0.009 for trend; HR -482CT 1.35 (95% CI 0.96-1.89), -482TT 1.68 (95% CI 0.91-3.1), p = 0.03 for trend, respectively. These results were confirmed by replication. Meta-analysis was highly significant (-482T meta-analysis p = 1.1 × 10(-4)). A borderline significant interaction was observed for insulin use among participants with type 2 diabetes (-482CT*BMI p = 0.06, -455TC*BMI p = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: At a population-based level, the influence of APOC3 promoter variants on type 2 diabetes risk varies with the level of adiposity. Lean carriers of the -482T allele had increased type 2 diabetes risk, while such an effect was not observed in overweight participants. Conversely, in overweight participants the -455C allele seemed protective against type 2 diabetes. The interaction of the variants with need for insulin treatment may indicate beta cell involvement in lean participants. Our findings suggest overlap in the genetic backgrounds of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes in lean patients.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1360 - 1367


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Alleles, Apolipoprotein C-III, Case-Control Studies, Cohort Studies, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Haplotypes, Humans, Hypoglycemic Agents, Insulin, Logistic Models, Male, Middle Aged, Netherlands, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Prevalence, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, Thinness