Weight-loss interventions generally improve lipid profiles and reduce cardiovascular disease risk, but effects are variable and may depend on genetic factors. We performed a genetic association analysis of data from 2,993 participants in the Diabetes Prevention Program to test the hypotheses that a genetic risk score (GRS) based on deleterious alleles at 32 lipid-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms modifies the effects of lifestyle and/or metformin interventions on lipid levels and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) lipoprotein subfraction size and number. Twenty-three loci previously associated with fasting LDL-C, HDL-C, or triglycerides replicated (P = 0.04–1×10−17). Except for total HDL particles (r = −0.03, P = 0.26), all components of the lipid profile correlated with the GRS (partial |r| = 0.07–0.17, P = 5×10−5–1×10−19). The GRS was associated with higher baseline-adjusted 1-year LDL cholesterol levels (β = +0.87, SEE±0.22 mg/dl/allele, P = 8×10−5, Pinteraction = 0.02) in the lifestyle intervention group, but not in the placebo (β = +0.20, SEE±0.22 mg/dl/allele, P = 0.35) or metformin (β = −0.03, SEE±0.22 mg/dl/allele, P = 0.90; Pinteraction = 0.64) groups. Similarly, a higher GRS predicted a greater number of baseline-adjusted small LDL particles at 1 year in the lifestyle intervention arm (β = +0.30, SEE±0.012 ln nmol/L/allele, P = 0.01, Pinteraction = 0.01) but not in the placebo (β = −0.002, SEE±0.008 ln nmol/L/allele, P = 0.74) or metformin (β = +0.013, SEE±0.008 nmol/L/allele, P = 0.12; Pinteraction = 0.24) groups. Our findings suggest that a high genetic burden confers an adverse lipid profile and predicts attenuated response in LDL-C levels and small LDL particle number to dietary and physical activity interventions aimed at weight loss.
The study included 2,993 participants from the Diabetes Prevention Program, a randomized clinical trial of intensive lifestyle intervention, metformin treatment, and placebo control. We examined associations between 32 gene variants that have been reproducibly associated with dyslipidemia and concentrations of lipids and NMR lipoprotein particle sizes and numbers. We also examined whether genetic background influences a person's response to cardioprotective interventions on lipid levels. Our analysis, which focused on determining whether common genetic variants impact the effects of cardioprotective interventions on lipid and lipoprotein particle size, shows that in persons with a high genetic risk score the benefit of intensive lifestyle intervention on LDL and small LDL particle levels is substantially diminished; this information may be informative for the targeted prevention of dyslipidemia, as it suggests that genetics might help identify persons in whom lifestyle intervention is likely to be an effective treatment for elevated lipids and lipoproteins. The NMR subfraction analyses provide novel insight into the biology of dyslipidemia by illustrating how numerous genetic variants that have previously been associated with lipid levels also modulate NMR lipoprotein particle sizes and number. This information may be informative for the targeted prevention of cardiovascular disease.