BACKGROUND - The genetic background of atherosclerosis in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is complex and poorly understood. Studying genetic components of intermediate phenotypes, such as endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress, may aid in identifying novel genetic components for atherosclerosis in diabetic patients.
METHODS - Five polymorphisms forming two haplotype blocks within the GTP cyclohydrolase 1 gene, encoding a rate limiting enzyme in tetrahydrobiopterin synthesis, were studied in the context of flow and nitroglycerin mediated dilation (FMD and NMD), intima-media thickness (IMT), and plasma concentrations of von Willebrand factor (vWF) and malondialdehyde (MDA).
RESULTS - Rs841 was associated with FMD (p = 0.01), while polymorphisms Rs10483639, Rs841, Rs3783641 (which form a single haplotype) were associated with both MDA (p = 0.012, p = 0.0015 and p = 0.003, respectively) and vWF concentrations (p = 0.016, p = 0.03 and p = 0.045, respectively). In addition, polymorphism Rs8007267 was also associated with MDA (p = 0.006). Haplotype analysis confirmed the association of both haplotypes with studied variables.
CONCLUSIONS - Genetic variation of the GCH1 gene is associated with endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress in T2DM patients.