Positive association in the absence of linkage suggests a minor role for the glucokinase gene in the pathogenesis of type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus amongst south Indians.
McCarthy MI., Hitchins M., Hitman GA., Cassell P., Hawrami K., Morton N., Mohan V., Ramachandran A., Snehalatha C., Viswanathan M.
Mutations of the glucokinase gene have been implicated in the development of glucose intolerance in pedigrees with maturity-onset diabetes of the young. However, the contribution of the glucokinase gene to the aetiology of common Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus is uncertain. We have studied the role of the glucokinase gene in the pathogenesis of Type 2 diabetes in South Indians, using both population-association and linkage methodology. A pair of CA-repeat sequences (GCK(3') and GCK(5')) straddling the glucokinase gene were employed as markers, each subject being typed using the polymerase chain reaction and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Comparisons of allele frequencies at these markers were made between 168 Type 2 diabetic subjects and 70 racially-matched control subjects. No differences in allele frequencies were apparent at the GCK(5') marker; however, there were significant differences in allele frequencies at the GCK(3') marker between the Type 2 diabetic subjects and control subjects (chi 2 = 11.6, df = 3, p = 0.009) with an increase of the z allele (78.0% vs 66.4%) and a decrease of the z + 2 allele (13.7% vs 25.0%) amongst the diabetic subjects. Linkage between glucose intolerance and the glucokinase gene was studied in 53 nuclear pedigrees under a variety of genetic models. Linkage was excluded (lod score < -2) at a recombination fraction of zero under five of the ten models used and highly unlikely (-2 < lod score < -1) under the others. The combination of positive association and negative linkage suggests that glucokinase acts as a minor gene influencing the development of Type 2 diabetes within this population.