(HealthDay News) – A variant of a gene associated with glutamic acid metabolism is linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Aug. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Lu Qi, MD, PhD, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues analyzed 2,543,016 common genetic variants from five independent sets of patients with type 2 diabetes, where 1,517 had coronary heart disease and 2,671 did not. The results were compared with patients without type 2 diabetes, where 737 had coronary heart disease and 1,637 did not.

The researchers found a significant association between variant rs10911021 present on chromosome 1q25 and the risk of coronary heart disease in patients with diabetes (risk allele frequency, 0.733 vs. 0.679; odds ratio, 1.36). There was no association with this variant in patients without diabetes. Risk allele homozygotes had a significant, 32% decrease in expression of the glutamate-ammonia ligase gene and a significantly reduced ratio of pyroglutamic and glutamic acid. The metabolism of glutamine and glutamic acid has been shown to contribute to the regulation of insulin secretion and glucose metabolism, according to the authors.

“A single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs10911021) was identified that was significantly associated with coronary heart disease among persons with diabetes but not in those without diabetes and was functionally related to glutamic acid metabolism, suggesting a mechanistic link,” Qi and colleagues conclude.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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