Plasma Vitamin C and type 2 diabetes: Genome-wide association study and mendelian randomization analysis in European populations

Ju Sheng Zheng, Jian’An Luan, Eleni Sofianopoulou, Fumiaki Imamura, Isobel D. Stewart, Felix R. Day, Maik Pietzner, Eleanor Wheeler, Luca A. Lotta, Thomas E. Gundersen, Pilar Amiano, Eva Ardanaz, María Dolores Chirlaque, Guy Fagherazzi, Paul W. Franks, Rudolf Kaaks, Nasser Laouali, Francesca Romana Mancini, Peter M. Nilsson, N. Charlotte Onland-MoretAnja Olsen, Kim Overvad, Salvatore Panico, Domenico Palli, Fulvio Ricceri, Olov Rolandsson, Annemieke M.W. Spijkerman, María José Sánchez, Matthias B. Schulze, Núria Sala, Sabina Sieri, Anne Tjønneland, Rosario Tumino, Yvonne T. van der Schouw, Elisabete Weiderpass, Elio Riboli, John Danesh, Adam S. Butterworth, Stephen J. Sharp, Claudia Langenberg, Nita G. Forouhi*, Nicholas J. Wareham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE Higher plasma vitamin C levels are associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk, but whether this association is causal is uncertain. To investigate this, we studied the association of genetically predicted plasma vitamin C with type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We conducted genome-wide association studies of plasma vitamin C among 52,018 individuals of European ancestry to discover novel genetic variants. We performed Mendelian randomization analyses to estimate the association of genetically predicted differences in plasma vitamin C with type 2 diabetes in up to 80,983 case participants and 842,909 noncase participants. We compared this estimate with the observational association between plasma vitamin C and incident type 2 diabetes, including 8,133 case participants and 11,073 noncase participants. RESULTS We identified 11 genomic regions associated with plasma vitamin C (P < 5 ☓ 10-8), with the strongest signal at SLC23A1, and 10 novel genetic loci including SLC23A3, CHPT1, BCAS3, SNRPF, RER1, MAF, GSTA5, RGS14, AKT1, and FADS1. Plasma vitamin C was inversely associated with type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio per SD 0.88; 95% CI 0.82, 0.94), but there was no association between genetically predicted plasma vitamin C (excluding FADS1 variant due to its apparent pleiotropic effect) and type 2 diabetes (1.03; 95% CI 0.96, 1.10). CONCLUSIONS These findings indicate discordance between biochemically measured and genetically predicted plasma vitamin C levels in the association with type 2 diabetes among European populations. The null Mendelian randomization findings provide no strong evidence to suggest the use of vitamin C supplementation for type 2 diabetes prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-106
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes Care
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

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