OBJECTIVE This study tested the hypothesis that genetically raised hyperglycemia increases coronary artery disease (CAD) risk separately from the risk conferred by type 2 diabetes as a whole.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We conducted a Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis using summary-level statistics from the largest published meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for fasting glucose (FG) (n = 133,010 participants free of diabetes) and CAD (n = 63,746 case subjects and 130,681 control subjects) of predominantly European ancestry. FG-increasing variants associated with type 2 diabetes from the largest GWAS for type 2 diabetes were excluded. Variants with pleiotropic effects on other CAD risk factors (blood lipids, blood pressure, and obesity) were excluded using summary-level data from the largest published GWAS. Data from the Framingham Heart Study were used to validate the MR instrument and to build an FG genetic risk score (GRS).
RESULTS In an instrumental variable analysis comprising 12 FG-raising variants, a 1 mmol/L increase in FG revealed an effect-size estimate of 1.43 CAD odds (95% CI 1.14–1.79). The association was preserved after excluding variants for heterogeneity and pleiotropic effects on other CAD risk factors (odds ratio [OR] 1.33 [95% CI 1.02–1.73]). The 12 FG-increasing variants did not significantly increase type 2 diabetes risk (OR 1.05 [95% CI 0.91–1.23]), and its prevalence was constant across FG GRS quintiles (P = 0.72).
CONCLUSIONS Our data support that genetic predisposition to hyperglycemia raises the odds of CAD separately from type 2 diabetes and other CAD risk factors. These findings suggest that modulating glycemia may provide cardiovascular benefit.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://care.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/dc16-2625/-/DC1.
- Received December 8, 2016.
- Accepted February 13, 2017.
- © 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.