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AIMS: To elucidate the relationship between the human insulin gene INS VNTR regulatory polymorphism and insulin secretion. The polymorphism arises from tandem repetition of 14-15 bp oligonucleotides. In Caucasians, repeat number varies from 26 to over 200, with two main and discrete allele size classes: class I (26-63 repeats) and class III (141-209 repeats). Class I allele homozygosity is associated with elevated risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, while the class III allele has been associated with increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and with larger size at birth, which may influence development of adult disease. METHODS: Thirty-one healthy adult subjects with normal glucose tolerance, underwent an intravenous glucose tolerance test with one minute sampling. Seventeen subjects were homozygous for class I alleles (14 excluding individuals carrying alleles associated with parent-of-origin effects and heterogeneity in allele transmission) and 14 homozygous for class III alleles. The groups were well matched. RESULTS: No significant differences in amount or rate of insulin secretion, or beta cell function were detected between the two groups. There was a difference in pattern of pulsatile insulin secretion with more 9-minute oscillations in class I homozygotes (P<0.026). The after-load glucose concentration was also higher in subjects with class I alleles (P<0.03). CONCLUSIONS: These results warrant further analysis of possible association between allelic variation of the INS VNTR and the pulsatility of insulin secretion.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabet Med

Publication Date





910 - 917


Adult, Alleles, Blood Glucose, C-Peptide, England, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Fourier Analysis, Genetic Variation, Glucose Tolerance Test, Homozygote, Humans, Insulin, Insulin Secretion, Male, Minisatellite Repeats, Proinsulin, Reference Values