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Disease Markers
Volume 28 (2010), Issue 5, Pages 281-286

Analysis of Osteocalcin as a Candidate Gene for Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) and Intermediate Traits in Caucasians and African Americans

Swapan K. Das, Neeraj K. Sharma, and Steven C. Elbein

Section on Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

Received 25 June 2010; Accepted 25 June 2010

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Recent studies in mice and human identified osteocalcin (OCN) as a bone-derived hormone that modulates insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. OCN is synthesized by the bone gamma-carboxyglutamate protein (BGLAP) gene located in the well replicated region of type 2 diabetes (T2D) linkage on chromosome 1q22. We resequenced BGLAP gene in 192 individuals with T2D and performed case-control studies in 766 Caucasian (461 T2D and 305 controls) and 563 African American individuals (371 T2D and 192 controls). Metabolic effects of BGLAP variants were examined in 127 nondiabetic members of Caucasian T2D families and in 498 unrelated nondiabetic African American and Caucasian individuals. BGLAP expression was tested in transformed lymphocytes from 60 Caucasian individuals. We identified 17 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in African Americans, but observed only the two known SNPs in Caucasians. No SNP was associated with T2D. Promoter SNP rs1800247 was not associated with metabolic traits including insulin sensitivity (SI) or fasting glucose in either population, but nonsynonymous SNP rs34702397 (R94Q) was nominally associated with SI (uncorrected p = 0.05) and glucose-mediated glucose disposal (SG; uncorrected p = 0.03) in African Americans. No SNP altered measures of insulin secretion or obesity, nor was BGLAP expression associated with rs1800247. Our study was sufficiently powered to exclude BGLAP variants as a major risk factor (OR > 1.5) for T2D in Caucasians, but coding variants in exon 4 may alter glucose homeostasis and diabetes risk in African Americans.