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

Rachael C. Aikens, from Swarthmore College in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the impact of 28 genetic variants associated with SBP 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 SBP levels due to the genetic score correlated with a 2% increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes (odds ratio, 1.02). A similar increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes was seen for a 1 mm Hg genetic elevation in SBP using a second score based on 13 variants exclusively associated with SBP (odds ratio, 1.02). In sensitivity analyses using multiple, alternative causal inference measures and simulation studies the association was found to be consistent.

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

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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 Sep; db160868.