Author(s): Yang B, Cross DF, Ollerenshaw M, Millward BA, Demaine AG
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Abstract There is increasing evidence implicating genetic factors in the susceptibility to diabetic microvascular complications. Recent studies suggest that increased expression of the cytokine vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) may play a role in the pathogenesis of diabetic complications. A number of polymorphisms in the promoter region of the VEGF gene have been identified. The aim was to investigate whether an 18 base pair (bp) deletion (D)/insertion (I) polymorphism at position -2549 in the promoter region of the VEGF gene is associated with the susceptibility to diabetic microvascular complications. Two hundred and thirty-two patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and 141 normal healthy controls were studied. The D/D genotype was significantly increased in those patients with nephropathy (n=102) compared to those with no complications after 20 years duration of diabetes (uncomplicated, n=66) (40.2\% vs. 22.7\%, respectively, chi(2)=5.5, P<.05). The combination of polymorphisms of VEGF together with the aldose reductase (ALR2) gene showed that in the nephropaths, 8 of the 83 subjects had the VEGF I allele together with the Z+2 5'ALR2 allele compared with 27 of the 62 uncomplicated patients (chi(2)=26.7, P<.00001). The functional role of the D/I polymorphism was examined by cloning the region into a luciferase reporter assay system and transient transfection into HepG2 cells. The construct containing the 18 bp deletion had a 1.95-fold increase in transcriptional activity compared with its counterpart that had the insert (P<.01). These results suggest that polymorphisms in the promoter region of the VEGF gene together with the ALR2 may be associated with the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.
This article was published in J Diabetes Complications
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism