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Keywords:

  • genetics;
  • inflammation;
  • type 2 diabetes;
  • visfatin/pre-B cell colony-enhancing factor

Abstract

Visfatin (also known as pre-B cell colony-enhancing factor, or PBEF) is a pro-inflammatory adipokine expressed predominantly in visceral fat. We investigated whether polymorphisms at the visfatin/PBEF locus influence the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Linkage disequilibrium analysis of 52 single nucleotide polymorphisms spanning the entire gene (34.7 kb) plus 20.5 kb of the upstream region and 25.5 kb of the downstream region revealed a single haplotype block that could be tagged by seven single nucleotide polymorphisms. These seven tags were typed in a group of T2D patients (n = 814) and a group of non-diabetic controls (n = 320) of white origin. A significant association was observed at −948C>A, with minor allele frequencies of 0.157 in T2D cases and 0.119 in non-diabetic controls (p = 0.021). In a non-diabetic population (n = 630), the same −948 allele that conferred increased risk of T2D was significantly associated with higher plasma levels of fibrinogen and C-reactive protein (p = 0.0022 and 0.0038, respectively). However, no significant associations were observed with BMI, waist circumference, serum glucose levels, or fasting insulin levels. Our findings suggest that the visfatin/PBEF gene may play a role in determining T2D susceptibility, possibly by modulating chronic, low-grade inflammatory responses.