Common variants in the transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) gene have been associated with type 2 diabetes in adults. However, it is not known whether TCF7L2 variation increases the risk of early onset type 2 diabetes. Using a case–control design, we examined whether the reported variants [rs12255372 (T/G) and rs7903146 (T/C)] are associated with type 2 diabetes in SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study participants.
Variants were genotyped in 694 non-Hispanic white (NHW) youth (86 cases, mean age 15.5 years, mean BMI 34.8; and 608 controls, mean age 14.4 years, mean BMI 22.3) and 545 African-American (AA) youth (154 cases, mean age 15.9, mean BMI 37; and 391 controls, mean age 14.8, mean BMI 23.8). Logistic regression adjusted for age, sex, BMI and West African ancestry.
The association of the risk T allele with case/control status was different in AA and NHW youth (p=0.025). Among AA youth, each copy of the T allele (rs7903146) was associated with a 1.97-fold (1.37, 2.82) increased odds for type 2 diabetes (p<0.0001), after adjustment for age, sex, BMI and African ancestry. No significant association was detected in NHW youth (adjusted OR, 1.14; 0.73, 1.79).
TCF7L2 variation is associated with an increased risk of early-onset type 2 diabetes among AA youth, and the association appears to be stronger in AA than NHW youth. This suggests potential different contributions of genetic and environmental factors to early-onset type 2 diabetes by race.