HealthDay News — An increase in systolic blood pressure due to genetic variants is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, according to research published in Diabetes.

Rachael C. Aikens, from Swarthmore College in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the impact of 28 genetic variants associated with systolic blood pressure on type 2 diabetes. Data were included for 37,293 cases and 125,686 controls in a Europe-centric meta-analysis.

The researchers found that a 1-mm Hg elevation of systolic blood pressure levels due to the genetic score correlated with a 2% increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes (odds ratio [OR]: 1.02). A similar increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes was seen for a 1-mm Hg genetic elevation in systolic blood pressure using a second score based on 13 variants exclusively associated with systolic blood pressure (OR: 1.02). 

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In sensitivity analyses using multiple, alternative causal inference measures and simulation studies the association was found to be consistent.

“In line with previous reports from observational studies, we found that genetically elevated systolic blood pressure was associated with increased risk to type 2 diabetes,” the researchers wrote. “Further work will be required to elucidate the biological mechanism and translational implications.”

Disclosures: The researchers report no conflicts of interest.

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  1. Aikens RC, Zhao W, Saleheen D, et al. Systolic blood pressure and risk of type 2 diabetes: a Mendelian randomization study. Diabetes. 2016 Oct 4. doi:10.2337/db16-0868 [Epub ahead of print]